Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fresh Fruits And Vegetables May Be Source Of Food Poisoning Outbreaks

We all agree that raw fruits and vegetables are good for us, or do we?
According to research published by Cambridge University Press in the journal Epidemiology and Infection, written by several experts in their field, there is a fact that fresh fruits and vegetables are increasingly recognised as a source of food poisoning outbreaks.

Recent outbreaks have revealed new and unexplained links between some bacterias and viruses that cause food poisoning. This includes, baby corn, lettuces, and even raspberries. We have already seen recent outbreaks of E Coli infections have been linked to bagged baby spinach, and Salmonella to peppers, imported cantaloupe melons and tomatoes as well.

Professor Norman Noah, Editor-in-Chief of the journal says: "This research confirms that raw fruit and vegetables can cause food poisoning. To obtain raw fruit and vegetables out of season, as many countries now do, they are transported many thousands of miles from growing areas, and outbreaks can affect many widely dispersed countries simultaneously."

So, what about washing fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them?
It may reduce the risk of food poisoning and episodes of vomiting and diarrhea. But washing all by itself, even with chlorine disinfectants may not be enough.
Studies show that certain disease-causing microbes are masters at hiding from chemical sanitizers. These bacteria can make their way inside the leaves of lettuce, spinach and other vegetables and fruit. In addition, microbes can organize themselves into tightly knit communities called biofilms that coat fruits and vegetables and protect the bacteria from harm.

All is not lost, new findings suggest that irradiation, a food treatment currently being reviewed by the FDA, can effectively kill internalized pathogens that are beyond the reach of conventional chemical sanitizers.
Irradiation exposes food to a source of electron beams, creating positive and negative charges. It disrupts the genetic material of living cells, inactivating parasites and destroying pathogens and insects in food, including E. coli and Salmonella.
All this so can have our veggie and fruit platter.
Tomorrow: How Salmonella Bacteria Contaminate Salad Leaves.