December is Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, started in 1994 to remind everyone how to handle, cook, and store food properly. An estimated 1 in 6 Americans get foodborne illnesses every year, but food poisoning is not a new phenomenon. In fact, history is full of cases of foodborne illnesses. Some say Alexander the Great’s death in 323 B.C. stemmed from typhoid fever, a disease caused by contaminated food or water. Others say the hysteria surrounding the Salem Witch Trials in the 17th century was caused by the settlers’ unfamiliarity with the symptoms of food poisoning brought on by the consumption of toxic fungus on rye bread. In 1906, Upton Sinclair’s novel “The Jungle” highlighted the unsanitary practices of the meatpacking industry, which spurred government reform and the creation of the Food and Drug Administration. Even nowadays, there continues to be food recalls across the country due to potential contamination.
Food poisoning can occur during production, processing, distribution, preparation, or storage. It’s caused by the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in food. Some of the more well-known types include salmonella, e. coli, listeria, and botulism. Gastrointestinal symptoms can appear within hours or a few days of consuming the contaminated food, and they may last for days. The people who are most at-risk for food poisoning are children, the elderly, and those whose immune systems are already compromised by illnesses such as cancer.
There are simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting food-poisoning, such as washing your hands after handling raw meat or eggs. If cutting fruits and vegetables, use a different cutting board than the one you use to cut meats. In your fridge, keep raw meat separate from other foods; a good place is the bottom shelf, where the juices won’t drip down onto other foods. Make sure your fridge is the correct temperature by purchasing an appliance thermometer (the fridge should be 40 degrees or below and the freezer at 0 degrees or below). When thawing food, defrost it in cold water, the fridge, or the microwave, not on the counter. Use a meat thermometer when cooking to ensure meats are heated to the proper temperature. Refrigerate cooked foods within 1-2 hours and make sure to reheat to 165 degrees when you consume them again.
At Budzar Industries, we recognize the importance of food safety. That’s why we manufacture process cooling equipment for food and beverage industries. For more information on our units, check out