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The lesser known effects of food-poisoning

January 30th , 2020 by

If you’ve experienced a brief bout of food poisoning you’ll know that, while the memory of the discomfort lingers, life quickly returns to normal.

If this was you, you were one of the lucky ones. For many, the suffering continues long after the vomiting and diarrhea stops. It can turn into a lifetime of misery or even death.

The long-term complications of food-poisoning are not widely known and probably grossly underestimated.

One U.S. study found that Americans lose about 112,000 years of healthy life each year because of food-borne illness.

In people with weakened immune systems, a severe infection of toxoplasma, which comes from undercooked meat, can cause brain damage and blindness.

Woman on toilet with upset stomach

Food-borne illness can have long-term effects

Food poisoning can temporarily or permanently damage the lining of the gut, and result in long-lasting bowel dysfunction and inflammation in the body.

Some people wind up with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or lactose intolerance after even a mild bout of food poisoning – a mix of abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhea, and constipation that’s difficult to treat.

A Salmonella infection can trigger reactive arthritis – pain and swelling in the knees, ankles, or feet. Another U.S. study has shown that certain strains of this bacteria can also permanently damage the DNA in our cells.

Then there’s the havoc caused by the deadly E. coli, which is commonly transmitted through raw or undercooked ground meat products, raw milk, and contaminated raw vegetables and sprouts. This dangerous pathogen can get into your organs, such as your kidneys or your brain, causing kidney failure or neurological damage.

If you’re fit and healthy, you are less likely to experience any of this in your lifetime. However the young, the old, the immune-compromised, and pregnant or postpartum women are highly vulnerable.

So remember – by making food safety a priority in your organisation you are helping your customers continue to live happy, healthy lives. Giving your staff shared ownership of this higher purpose brings a new level of meaning to their day-to-day food safety and hygiene duties.

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