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What are the Most Common Causes of Food Poisoning?

When you read about food poisoning in the news, you probably see a lot of the same causes listed again and again: Meat, leafy vegetables, and dairy products are often the foods mentioned as harboring harmful Listeria, Salmonella, and E.Coli bacteria. These are some of the most common types of food poisoning to occur in the United States and the foods known for causing them.

In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report detailing the most common types of food poisoning in the United States and their causes. Below are a few highlights from the report. These four types of bacteria accounted for 75% of the reported food poisoning cases in the United States. Although these are the most common types of food poisoning reported, remember that there are many other types of food poisoning that exist. Familiarize yourself with their symptoms as well to determine if you need to seek medical attention after consuming a contaminated food product.

E.Coli

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Eggo Waffles Recalled After Listeria Scare

Food poisoning can occur with fresh items, like meat and vegetables straight from the farm, or with packaged items that can be purchased frozen or vacuum-sealed. Many individuals do not realize that processed and packaged foods can be as dangerous as fresh foods because the processes the foods go through before reaching store shelves should ideally kill any harmful bacteria. A recent report of listeria being found in packages of Eggo Nutri-Grain Whole Wheat waffles has changed many individuals' perception of the safety of packaged foods.

Only the Nutri-Grain Whole Wheat variety of waffles was recalled. Other varieties and other products from Kellogg Company are safe to eat, the company reports. Kellogg Company voluntarily recalled packages of potentially-affected waffles in September 2016.

Strong>Effects of Listeria

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Antibiotic-Resistant E.Coli Strain Found in Connecticut Toddler

Bacteria are living organisms. It can sometimes be difficult to think of them this way because they are microscopic, but they are organisms just like birds, fish, and human beings. Bacteria are unicellular, which means that each individual is only made up of one cell, rather than the trillions of cells that comprise a human being.

As living organisms, bacterial populations can grow and evolve according to their environment. One gene that has been found in strains of E.Coli bacteria is mcr-1, which makes them resistant to certain antibiotics. Thus far, four cases of individuals falling ill to this strain of E.Coli have been identified in the United States, including a toddler in Connecticut who became ill in June 2016. E.Coli is especially dangerous to humans because it can be spread quickly through contaminated food. Young children can suffer significantly worse symptoms of food poisoning than adults because their immune systems are not yet fully developed, making antibiotic-resistant strains potentially deadly to young victims.

How Does Bacteria Become Resistant to Antibiotics?

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Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Frozen Strawberries in Smoothies

Although certain types of food are linked with food poisoning outbreaks more frequently than others, nearly any type of food or consumable product can carry harmful bacteria that can cause victims to fall ill. One recent report from Food Safety News cites frozen strawberries as the culprit for the recent outbreak of Hepatitis A. As of September 8th, 2016, 89 people in seven states have suffered from symptoms of Hepatitis A after consuming smoothies made with frozen strawberries imported from Egypt. Reports came from West Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Virginia.

In most of these cases, the victim consumed a smoothie made by a restaurant or retailer, rather than purchasing the strawberries and making the smoothie at home. Multiple chains, including Tropical Smoothie Cafe, were cited as the sources of the contaminated smoothies.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A

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Four Uncommon Types of Food Poisoning

When you read about food poisoning outbreaks in the news or see them on television, you probably hear the same names over and over: Salmonella, Listeria, Norovirus, and E.Coli. These types of harmful bacteria can spread quickly, causing a large number of people to become ill. Although they are four common types of food poisoning, they are not the only types of food poisoning. Other types of food poisoning that you might not have heard of include Botulism, C. Perfringens, Hepatitis A, and Vibrio Vulnificus.

Botulism

Botulism is often associated with canned foods. This is because the bacteria that causes Botulism thrives in environments with little oxygen. Botulism can have serious side effects, such as paralysis. It can also be fatal. If you experience symptoms of Botulism, such as nausea, a drooping eyelid, facial weakness, difficulty swallowing or speaking, or blurred vision within a period of 36 hours after consuming a canned food or fermented seafood, seek medical attention right away.

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