Every hour of every day people around the world are living with and working to resolve food safety issues. Here is a sampling of current headlines for your consumption, brought to you today with the support of iwaspoisoned.com.
TripAdvisor deleted reviews about food poisoning
TripAdvisor is under fire for allegedly censoring consumers’ warnings about injuries, assaults and tainted alcohol at Mexican resorts. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that more than a dozen travelers across the U.S. claim to have been silenced by TripAdvisor after using the website to share information about negative experiences, including rape.
“Three separate women who say they were raped at the same Iberostar resort allege TripAdvisor censored their posts. A woman says TripAdvisor — which prohibits hearsay, off-topic material, and content that isn’t ‘family friendly’ — also deleted her review describing how she blacked out after drinking a small amount of alcohol, claiming the account was hearsay,” the newspaper reported.
A similar scenario occurred when reviews of Turkey’s Pegasos Royal Hotel were deleted from the discount travel website. A lawsuit alleges 40 people contracted Salmonella from food at the hotel.
FSA offers tips on bagging groceries
Safely packing food during shopping trips is an important defense against foodborne pathogens that could be impacted by a new bag charge in the United Kingdom. As of Oct. 5, large shops in England will charge 5p for single-use plastic bags. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland already require a similar charge on single-use bags.
The new charge and the “bag for life” campaign in recent history that has been encouraging consumers to switch to reusable shopping bags has sparked concern at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the U.K.
“We’re reminding people of our advice about packing food safely when shopping,” the agency said in a recent notice.
Raw foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and loose vegetables with soil intact have the potential of carrying bacteria that cause food poisoning. Combining these foods with ready-to-eat foods like bread, cooked meats and cheese, can spread bacteria from one food to another if they are bagged together, “especially if there are any spillages or leaks,” the FSA warns.
With this, the FSA advises that raw foods always be packed in separate bags from ready-to-eat foods, and that consumers mark reusable bags for “raw foods only,” Also, it’s a good idea to check bags for spillages, like raw meat juices, after every use. In this case, reusable plastic bags should be thrown away. Cotton or fabric reusable bags can, and should be, machine washed frequently.
All immune systems are not created equal
Understanding foodborne illness isn’t as simple as one might think. One common question Michigan State University’s Extension Service addresses is: “How come I became sick but my friend didn’t when we ate the same thing?”
Individuality is the answer, according to the Extension Service.
“… just because we may be healthy doesn’t mean we are someone who is resistant to foodborne illness,” according to a recent post. When contaminated food is ingested, the body is either able to fight the bacteria or not. “Our (individual) immune system is the determining factor.”
Although anyone can contract a foodborne illness, there are simply populations that are at a higher risk of developing foodborne illness, such as older adults, young children, those recovering from surgery, or individuals who have long term illness.
Additionally, some foods have a higher potential of harboring foodborne pathogens, including undercooked or raw fish, poultry, shellfish, unpasteurized milk, cheese or yogurt. Fresh produce is also a possible source, partly because it is often eaten raw, meaning there isn’t a cooking kill step.
“It is helpful to remember that there are factors that can place even a healthy person in the high-risk group,” according to the Extension Service.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)