Food poisoning, also called food-borne illness, resulting from the consumption of bad food or beverages.
According to health experts, food poisoning is caused by a variety of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, parasites that contaminate food, rather than chemical or natural.
They indicate that food poisoning is caused by eating contaminated food that is handled, stored or prepared incorrectly.
Good hygiene practices before, during and after food preparation can reduce the chances of contracting the illness.
But food contamination is not just limited to food that people consider risky, such as chicken or fish. Prepared fruits, vegetables and salads can also be potentially dangerous.
However, food poisoning bacteria can grow and multiply on some types of food more easily than others.
They advise the need for food safety, which means monitoring food to ensure that it will not cause food poisoning explains.
Bacteria can cause food poisoning by two different ways; some bacteria infect the intestines, causing inflammation and problems with normal absorption of nutrients and water that leads to diarrhea, a report from Rwanda Health Communication Centre/Ministry of Health on Health information for behaviour change says.
Other bacteria produce chemicals in foods (toxins) that are poisonous to the human digestive system. When eaten, these chemicals can lead to nausea and vomiting, kidney failure, and even death.
In the country like Rwanda, where some Rwandese don’t make a difference between the use of a saucepan and a basin; where they use a basin for washing clothes and showering as well as washing plates and other food utensils.
The Minister of Health, Dr Jean Damascène Ntawukuriryayo; said that it should be everyone’s responsibility and efforts to inform neighbours and the public of the importance of fighting griminess.
“It requires a different mindset among people, making it a must to wash hands after visiting toilets and whenever necessary, eating properly prepared and clean food. Cleanness is source of life,” Ntawukuriryayo said.
He says that restaurant owners have to consider hygiene for their clients, when they seem not to mind, the attendants should not go ahead and consume what will cause them problems.
As a result, the Ministry of health closes restaurants and hotels that do not meet health safety requirements.
Some types of food that the bacteria can grow and multiply on more easily include: poultry, meat, dairy products, eggs, prepared salads and prepared fruit salads, to mention but a few.
Symptoms and mortality
Health experts also reveal that symptoms of food poisoning depend on the type of contaminant and the amount eaten.
The symptoms can develop rapidly, within 30 minutes, or slowly, worsening over days to weeks. Most of the common contaminants cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, gastroenteritis, fever, headache or fatigue.
They assert that in most cases the body is able to permanently recover after a short period of acute discomfort and illness. Food poisoning can result in permanent health problems or even death, especially for people at high risk, including babies, young children, pregnant women (and their fetuses), elderly people, sick people and others with weak immune systems.
Some bacteria infect the intestines, causing inflammation and problems with normal absorption of nutrients and that leads to diarrhea.
Other bacteria produce chemicals in foods (known as toxins) that are poisonous to the human digestive system. When eaten, these chemicals can lead to nausea and vomiting, kidney failure and even death.
A report from Rwanda Health Communication Centre/Ministry of Health on Health information for behaviour change gives safe steps in food handling: cooking and storage are essentially to avoid food-borne illness.
One cannot see, smell, or taste bacteria, which may be on any food.
It also advised keeping raw meat, poultry and other food stuff separate from other foods.
Also keep everything clean, wash hands before and after handling raw meat, poultry and other food stuff, sanitize cutting boards often in a solution of one teaspoon chlorine bleach in one quart of water.
Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other food. After cutting raw meats, wash hands, cutting board, knife, and counter tops with hot, soapy water.
Never leave food out more than two hours or even less is external temperature is more than 25 degrees Celsius. Bacteria that cause food poisoning grow rapidly at room temperature.