Our human lives are, in reality, a daily struggle to survive against enemies such as bacteria and germs. Among the many diseases and sicknesses that we may catch during one’s lifetime, there is food poisoning. Often underestimated, food poisoning should be taken seriously, just like any other disease. Here are five myths and their corresponding truths that relate to food poisoning.
Myth: Food poisoning is a relatively minor ailment. It’s like the flu or the allergy; just a bit pesky, but not too serious.
Fact: Food poisoning is often compared to the flu if not thought to be less severe, since the symptoms are very similar and often last a shorter amount of time. However, even though the symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting are temporary, there are potentially deadly long-term effects to food poisoning. Kidney failure, chronic arthritis, brain damage, and nerve damage are some of the most common long-term effects of food poisoning. To sum it up, approximately 3,000 deaths occur annually due to illnesses experienced due to food poisoning.
Myth: Rinsing meat with water will quickly remove most of the bacteria on it.
Fact: Yes, rinsing meat with water can remove the germs that may exist on the surface or in the “juice” that often comes with the meat. However, you also spread the germs into your sink and on your nearby counter when you spray water on the meat. Therefore, it is like a double-edged sword. It is best to just cook the meat properly, which will automatically rid your meat of any germs that would have been removed by rinsing in the first place and prevent food poisoning.
Myth: Unless something unnaturally smells bad or visually appears to have formed bacteria on it, like leftovers left out for an extended amount of time, then it is safe to eat.
Fact: Some bacteria do not give off any odor, such as the ones that are commonly associated with food poisoning. In fact, many bacteria that cause food poisoning do not cause food to be visually different nor will they cause food to taste different. Although inspecting a substance’s odor, taste, and visual appearance can minimally aid in determining whether food has gone bad, the most reliable and surefire way is to follow proven safe storage times for food.
Myth: If fruits or vegetables are to be peeled, then they do not need to be washed.
Fact: Just like you should wash your hand before eating or cooking, you can compare the peels of the fruit or vegetable to your skin; hence they need to be washed too. Bacteria from the peels of fruit and vegetables can easily be transferred to the inside of the fruit, whether it be by the peeler or your hands and cause food poisoning. To be safe, you should always wash your fruits or vegetables.
Myth: Using detergent or soap to wash fruits and vegetables with will effectively eliminate the bacteria on them, hence making the cleaned produce safe to consume.
Fact: While detergent and soap may effectively eliminate the bacteria found on the skin of fruits and vegetables, it will also effectively stay on the fruit and vegetable skins. The fruit and vegetables are practically germ free after the use of detergents or soap, but the chemical residue that is left on the skin by the chemicals used to wash the produce is poisonous to humans and therefore unfortunately, renders it unsafe to eat. Instead, running distilled water to clean produce and wiping the produce dry with paper towel will effectively clean fruits and vegetables safely.