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Foodborne Illnesses

At this moment, more than 1 billion people suffer from starvation To be precise, 1 in 6 people on Earth do not have enough food. As a result of that, this year, every five seconds, 36 million of these people including children under 5, will die because of hunger. The number of people suffering from hunger has been growing since the mid 1990s. Well into the 21st century hunger is still the world's biggest health problem. In 2007 the number of people who suffer from hunger grew by 75 million and by 40 million in 2008.To make a comparison, nearly 600 million or almost 1 in 10 people fall ill every year from eating contaminated food and 420 000 die as a result. Children under the age of 5 are at particularly high risk, with 125 000 children dying from foodborne diseases every year

The risk of foodborne diseases is most severe in low- and middle-income countries,linked to preparing food with unsafe water; poor hygiene and inadequate conditions in food production and storage; lower levels of literacy and education; and insufficient food safety legislation or implementation of such legislation.

Who is Estimates of the global burden
of foodborne diseases

This statistics reveal that food can harm you as much as it can do you good. Therefore, we should be very careful with the food we eat. It is very important for the consumers to know (and care) more about where the ingredients of their food come from and how the food was prepared. The scary part is that researchers have identified more than 250 foodborne diseases and that is more than 250 different ways to get foodborne disease. The good part is that since researchers have identified more than 250 foodborne diseasses it has become easier to treat them.

Foodborne diseases can be:

● infections caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses and parasites (cryptosporidiosis, escherichia coli 0157:H7 and hemolytic uremic syndrome, giardiasis, listeriosis, norovirus, salmonellosis, vibrio).

● poisonings caused by harmful toxins / chemicals (scombroid fish poisoning).

● pathogens that can be acquired through recreational or drinking water, from contact with animals or their environment, or throughperson-to-person spread (raw foods of animal origin, that is, raw meat and poultry, raw eggs, unpasteurized milk, and raw shellfish are the most likely to be contaminated, fruits and vegetables can also be contaminated with animal waste when manure is used to fertilize produce in the field, or unclean water is used for washing the produce).

Signs and symptoms of foodborne diseases may start just a couple of hours after eating the contaminated food, or they may begin days, sometimes weeks later. The duration of the food poisoning generally varies from a few hours after exposure to contaminated food or fluid to several days.Some of the symptoms are: abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, mild fever, weakness, nausea, headaches. Symptoms of potentially life-threatening food poisonings include: diarrhea persisting for more than three days, a fever higher than 38.6°C, difficulty seeing or speaking, symptoms of severe dehydration, which may include dry mouth, passing little to no urine, and difficulty keeping fluids down, bloody urine.

If experienced any of these symptoms, one should contact doctor immediately. Food can become contaminated at any point in the farm-to-table continuum, as well as in consumers' own kitchens. Therefore, foodborne illness risk reduction and control interventions must be implemented at every step throughout the food preparation process, from farm to table. In addition, more effective food safety education programs for food handlers and consumers are needed. Strategies should take into account food safety-related trends including large-scale production and wide distribution of food, globalization of the food supply, eating outside of the home, emergence of new pathogens, and growing population of at-risk consumers.To prevent food poisoning at home, one should wash hands, utensils and food surfaces often, keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods, cook food to a safe temperature, refrigerate or freeze perishable foods promptly and throw it out when in doubt.


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The world counts. (2017). How many people die from hunger each year? e_die_from_hunger_each_year