Avoid the experience of food poisoning

Food poisoning episodes are something we remember.

Food poisoning episodes are something we remember.

Unfortunately, my most memorable event was my own fault. I bought fresh kidney beans at a market in Malawi. Returning to my home, I left them in a plastic bag out in the sun. The next day, the humidity and condensation had caused the beans to sprout. Having eaten many other “bean sprouts” in the past, I decided to give them a try.

Their flavour was not memorable, but their effect was – that evening, every food I had eaten in the last seven days was expelled from my body.

Later, research led me to discover that kidney bean sprouts contain a toxin called lectin. My food-borne illness was likely caused by the toxic substance in the bean itself, rather than the way I had stored the food.

In Canada, it is estimated that there are about four million cases of food-borne illness every year.

With summer here, picnics and barbecues provide ideal opportunities. Warm environments are the preferred breeding place for most microorganisms, and in food safety, we refer to temperatures between five and 60 degrees Celsius “the Danger Zone.” These are the temperatures where bacteria can multiply most readily. Luckily, most foodborne illness can be prevented by taking measures to prepare and store your food safely. This summer when you are handling food, keep the following tips in mind, to decrease your chance of getting sick:

• Wash your hands – hands provide an easy way for micro-organisms to travel from one place to another.

• Separate raw foods from cooked foods. Use separate cutting boards and knives for handling raw foods.

• Cook thoroughly – make sure the juices of poultry and meat run clear, not pink. Heat soups and stews to 70C (almost boiling).

• Keep foods at safe temperatures – hot food should stay hot and cold food cold. Do not keep cooked food at room temperature for more than two hours. Hold food below 5C (refrigerator temperature) or above 60 degrees (a low simmer).

• Use safe water and raw materials. Wash raw fruits and vegetables and do not use food beyond its expiry date.

•. Be careful sprouting your own beans! Many beans are toxic when sprouted.

-Serena Caner is a registered dietician who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.


Just Posted

In Photos: CP Rail Holiday Train lights up Sicamous

The stop on the train’s Canada-wide journey came with a $5,500 donation to local food bank.

Update: Collision cleared on Highway 97B south of Salmon Arm

The crash took place at the highway’s intersection with Deep Creek Road.

Chances Gaming Centre evacuated due to ‘security issue’

Patrons were evacuated at approximately 8:45 p.m.

Salmon Arm pharmacies continue to experience flu vaccine shortage

One pharmacy has privately sourced vaccine in stock, available for purchase

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Column: Kid’s growing up fast on Old Town Road

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

RCMP officer volunteers as designated driver

Princeton’s two largest employers ensure safe rides for Christmas parties

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Kelowna RCMP officer suspended after allegedly sexting assault victim

RCMP confirm investigation but hold back details

Legendary primatologist coming to Okanagan

Dame Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, will present in Vernon Tuesday, March 24

Old Christmas card has ties to Summerland agriculture

Card was sent by former director of Summerland Research Station

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

Most Read