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The holidays are noted for an abundance of food. However, it is also a time when persons are more vulnerable and susceptible to food poisoning, which can lead to hospitalisation. Food poisoning refers to illness as a result of eating contaminated food.

How Food Poisoning is Contracted

Food poisoning is caused by excessive bacteria in food, whether raw or cooked. Food can be poisoned from any stage of production – growing, harvesting, storing, shipping or preparing.
Common contaminants of food include: Hepatitis A, (E.coli) and Listeria among others. These can be transmitted by an infected food handler, unclean surfaces, storing foods at the incorrect temperature, using contaminated water in the preparation of food or storing raw and fresh food in the same container or location.

Food Poisoning Symptoms

Persons experiencing the following symptoms in excess should seek medical attention immediately.
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Diarrhoea, which may be bloody
• Abdominal pains and cramps
• Fever

How to Minimise Food Poisoning Risk:
Persons can take the following steps to minimise food poisoning.
• Wash fruits and vegetables properly before preparing them.
• Wash hands constantly during cooking.
• Store food in the refrigerator not more than two hours after cooking.
• Have a separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables.
• Ensure that street food is from a reputable place.

For additional information contact:
Ministry of Health
10-16 Grenada Way
Kingston 5
Tel: 876 – 633-8103/633-7433
Fax: 876 – 622-8364

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