Foodborne Diseases and How We Can Avoid Them

No matter how we choose the food we eat, it’s still possible to get foodborne diseases. It’s important to be keen in our food preparations, but what’s even more important is to be smarter and always keep ourselves informed.

What is a foodborne disease?

According to Wikipedia, a foodborne disease is any illness resulting from the food spoilage of contaminated food, pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites that contaminate food,[2] as well as chemical or natural toxins such as poisonous mushrooms and various species of beans that have not been boiled for at least 10 minutes.

Symptoms vary depending on the cause or type of the disease but mostly, a person may experience nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and dizziness.

How can we avoid these diseases?

In order to avoid foodborne diseases, you need to make sure that you handle your food properly.

For Consumers:

  1. Wash your produce
  • Soak your fruits and vegetables for 5 minutes before preparation.
  • Add a little vinegar when soaking green leafies.
  • Wash the skin of the fruit. If possible, don’t eat the skin.
  1. Cut off at least an inch at the end of hard vegetables like carrots.
  2. For meat, fish, and other shellfish, wash them well with water. Clean it up when you’re done with the preparations.

For Farms and Agricultural Companies:

  1. High-quality post-harvest management
  • Clean up after harvesting.
  • Only use disinfectants that are only approved by the NOA (depending on the category)
  1. Provide a safe and hygienic workplace and ensure proper food handling.

 

 

Importance of Using Organic Disinfectant for Post-Harvest Agriculture

As crucial it is to achieve an economically rewarding enterprise via the marketing of organic produce before the harvest phase is, it’s also important to make sure that the post-harvest phase is done properly.

The National Organic Program or NOP Rule has been established by the USDA to enforce uniform standards for producing and handling agricultural and processed food labeled as organic. Therefore, it is important that the chemicals used in organic post-harvest operations must comply with the rules set by the NOP. Of course, each produce falls into a different category and each category has its own list of disinfectants.

Post-Harvest Management

In order to have the best post-harvest management quality, it’s important to ensure that you are using an organic disinfectant. A lot of farms and companies use chemicals like chlorine, acetic acid, alcohol, peroxyacetic acid, and other ammonium sanitizers.

Though these disinfectants have been approved, they are still chemicals. Using an organic disinfectant helps a lot in improving the quality of post-harvest management.

Why Is It Important To Use Organic Disinfectant?

You may or may not agree, but organic is always better. It’s all natural and can definitely spare you from the effects of harmful chemicals.  If we can use organic disinfectants instead of bleach, chlorine, or alcohol, it’s definitely worth it!

Interesting references on the topic:

Health effects of chemical exposure:
https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/emes/public/docs/Health%20Effects%20of%20Chemical%20Exposure%20FS.pdf

Effects of chemicals and pesticides upon health:
http://www.chem-tox.com/

On Pesticides and Health:
https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/pesticides/index.cfm

Agricultural Health Study:
https://aghealth.nih.gov/

The Effects of Phytosanitary Regulations on U.S. Imports of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

What are the regulations for the fruits and vegetable we import and consume? Foodborne illnesses and Food Biosecurity are essential matters. The United States Department of Agriculture, particularly its Economic Research Service, created an interesting report on the topic.

Get a summary of the report here.
Get the direct link to USDA website here.

By Peyton Ferrier 

Since 2006, Peyton Ferrier has been an economist in the Food and Specialty Crops Branch in the Market and Trade Division at ERS. His work considers the welfare effects of the evolving market structure of food industries, especially relating to import regulation and quality assurance.