Food poisonings are sometimes life-threatening poisonings that develop due to the consumption of foods contaminated with various microorganisms. Bacteria, viruses or fungi can be transmitted during any of the production, storage, preparation, use or cooking stages of foods.

Food poisonings are sometimes life-threatening poisonings that develop due to the consumption of foods contaminated with various microorganisms. Bacteria, viruses or fungi can be transmitted during any of the production, storage, preparation, use or cooking stages of foods. In general, it manifests itself with abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting within a few hours after consumption of contaminated food.Most food poisonings have mild symptoms and resolve spontaneously. However, some of them have serious symptoms and require treatment under hospital conditions.

Causes of food poisoning:

In food poisoning, bacteria, virus or fungus are transmitted to the food at various stages. Some of the causes of food contamination by stage are:

  • Production stage:
  • Agricultural production in areas where microorganism entry may be intense (areas adjacent to septic pits, etc.),
  • Agricultural irrigation with contaminated water,
  • Employees not complying with hygiene rules during the production phase,
  • Contamination of production tools,
  • Using contaminated additives,
  • Production of food from the meat or milk of infected animals,
  • Transporting food under unsuitable conditions after production.
  • Storage phase:
  • Food is not stored in places that are not exposed to the sun,
  • Foods that require cold chain are not kept in the refrigerator,
  • Food storage areas are dirty,
  • Food storage areas are hot,
  • Keeping raw products open,
  • Storing products beyond their storage period (fish and chicken 3 days, meat 3-5 days, minced meat 2-3 days, milk 5-7 days, hard cheeses 1-3 months, soft cheeses 2-3 weeks, butter 8 weeks can be stored in the refrigerator. )
  • Failure to comply with the storage conditions in the product packaging,
  • Re-freezing and storing frozen foods after thawing,
  • Storing products in unsuitable packaging.
  • Preparation phase:
  • Failure to comply with the cleaning rules during the preparation process of foods,
  • Keeping the preparation processes of foods long,
  • Food preparation with contaminated tools,
  • Preparation of food without thorough cleaning,
  • Food preparation areas are not clean.
  • Food preparation in extremely hot, humid areas,
  • Preparing fruits and vegetables with the same tools (knives, cutting boards, etc.)
  • Cooking stage:
  • Failure to comply with the appropriate cooking temperature and time according to the type of food,
  • Keeping the time between preparation and cooking of foods long, not keeping the prepared products in suitable conditions,
  • Putting the cooked food in the refrigerator and reheating it more than once and consuming it again and again.

Food poisoning symptoms:

Symptoms of food poisoning vary according to the type of microorganism, the amount of contaminated food consumed, the characteristics of the person and the additional disease.

  • Nausea, vomiting,
  • Weakness, fatigue,
  • Stomach ache,
  • Fire,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Bloody stool,
  • Signs of dehydration,
  • There may be muscle aches.

Symptoms are mostly mild and improve with simple home remedies. However:

  • Bloody diarrhea,
  • Fever lasting longer than 3 days
  • Frequent and severe vomiting
  • Nuchal rigidity,
  • Severe headache,
  • If there are signs of dehydration, it is recommended to consult a healthcare provider.

Long-term effects of food poisoning, depending on the severity of poisoning and the causative microorganism:

  • Meningitis,
  • Liver damage,
  • Bleeding disorders,
  • Joint inflammation,
  • Brain and nerve damage may develop.

Factors in food poisoning:

Food poisoning can be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. Some of the common causes of food poisoning are:

  • Salmonella species : It is mostly transmitted from products such as poorly cooked meat, chicken, fish, milk, cheese, eggs. Symptoms of poisoning begin 6 hours to 6 days after the food is consumed.
  • Clostridium perfringens : It is transmitted when raw meat and meat products are left to cool slowly after cooking and are not consumed immediately. Symptoms of poisoning begin 6-24 hours after consuming food.
  • _ Coli: It is transmitted by raw or undercooked meat, minced meat, milk, fruit and vegetables contaminated with stool or washed with contaminated water. Symptoms of poisoning begin 3-4 days after consuming food.
  • Staphilococcus aureus : It is transmitted from unwashed contaminated hands or food prepared with tools. Symptoms of poisoning begin within 30 minutes – 8 hours after consuming food.
  • Listeria : It is transmitted by raw meat, chicken, frozen food, cream, cheese, which are kept at an unsuitable temperature and whose cold chain is broken. Symptoms of poisoning begin 2 weeks after consuming food.
  • Clostridium botulinum: Caused by canned foods.Symptoms of poisoning begin 18-36 hours after consuming food.
  • Salmonella: It is transmitted by raw or poorly cooked meat, chicken, milk, eggs. Symptoms of poisoning begin 6 hours to 6 days after the food is consumed.
  • Norovirus: It is transmitted by contaminated water or food washed with these waters. Symptoms of poisoning begin 12-48 hours after consuming food.

Diagnosis of food poisoning:

A good anamnesis and physical examination from the patient can often be sufficient for diagnosis. Stool samples and blood tests can be done for definitive diagnosis.

Treatment of food poisoning:

  • The patient’s vital signs are evaluated. Supportive treatment is applied.
  • The main thing in the treatment is to replace the fluid lost by the patient.
  • Antibiotic treatment can be applied in poisonings with an incision diagnosis and certain causative agents.

What you can do at home:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea are ways to expel the poison from the body. For this reason, do not use drugs to prevent nausea and diarrhea.
  • The fluid lost due to diarrhea needs to be replaced. Proper nutrition should be continued, plenty of fluids (clean drinking water, buttermilk, unsweetened tea, etc.) and plenty of rest are required.
  • Yoghurt, rice porridge, boiled potatoes, sour apples and fresh peach juice, etc., until diarrhea subsides. consume foods.
  • Consume the vegetables after cooking and after washing and peeling the fruits. Fruits such as plums, apricots, figs, grapes, and watermelons should not be eaten as they increase bowel movements.

Protection from food poisoning:

  • Place cold foods in the refrigerator as soon as you return from shopping.
  • Always keep raw meat and fish covered, at the bottom of the refrigerator.
  • Make sure that the foods such as meat, milk, fish taken from outside are fresh and choose quality products that are known where they are made.
  • Pay attention to the expiration date of the food you buy.
  • Make sure you thaw and cook meat properly to kill harmful bacteria.
  • Use different cutting boards for raw and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Avoid consuming unpasteurized milk, raw eggs and undercooked meat.
  • Prevent raw meat juices from coming into contact with other foods.
  • Wash vegetables and fruits under running water.
  • Do not leave food out for more than a few hours, or more than an hour on hot days.
  • Do not reheat and eat cooked food repeatedly.
  • Perform the cooking process completely and perfectly for the foods to be cooked.
  • Consume the foods after cooking without waiting.
  • Avoid contact between raw and cooked foods.
  • When preparing food, definitely pay attention to hand washing and cleaning.
  • Keep surfaces in the kitchen clean.
  • Protect food from animals such as insects, rodents, pests.
  • Pay attention to the use of clean water.
  • Before touching food, cover any cuts with a Band-Aid.
  • Keep pets away from counters and food.