Food Facts

While recently writing the new Food and Nutrition class that Community Education, LLC will be offering as part of our recertification courses, I came across a few interesting facts that may be helpful to those of you who help to prepare meals for your residents. 

  • Food borne disease, commonly called food poisoning, is caused by consuming contaminated foods or beverages.
  • Many different disease-causing microbes, or pathogens, can contaminate foods, so more than 250 different food borne diseases have been described.
    • Viruses cause most of these diseases (67%), followed by bacteria (30%), and parasites (3%).
  • Each year in the U.S., one in four (25%!) of Americans become ill after eating foods contaminated with food borne pathogens.
  • In the general population, 2-3% of food borne illnesses lead to chronic conditions, such as major organ damage.
  • According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers older adults a “highly susceptible population,” who are “those most likely to suffer from a food borne illness and to suffer serious complications or mortality as a result.”
  • Seniors afflicted with food borne illness have mortality rates up to 10 times higher than the general population.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold
    • Bacteria multiply rapidly between 40°F and 140°F, doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes! 

We all know that meat, poultry, and dairy are good breeding grounds that favor a rapid growth of microorganisms, but did you know the following foods also favor a rapid growth of microorganisms–garlic and oil mix, baked and boiled potatoes, soy products and tofu, and sliced melon? 

The major food safety hazards are the result of time/temperature problems, poor personal hygiene, and cross contamination. More about these in another blog in the future.

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