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Food Poisoning

How safe is the food we eat?

The recent scare in the UAE over contaminated milk has heightened people's awareness about food safety issues. Ali Murshid, head of the Public Health Department at Sharjah Municipality, said food safety had become a very important issue. It represents a major part of municipalities' efforts aimed at ensuring safety and hygiene in UAE. "Changes in lifestyle locally and globally have forced many people to consume food they did not make themselves, as they used to do, and they can not be sure if it has been made according to highest hygiene standards."
Gulf News, June 24, 2000

Our busy lifestyles have resulted in an increased demand for ready-to-eat foods, fast foods and dining out. This change in demand has, in turn, brought with it new and increased problems. One of these is the risk of bacterial food poisoning.

In the UAE, after a few incidents like the supply of contaminated milk and rotten meat in the market a few months ago, people have become more conscious about what they buy. At the same time we cannot disregard the fact that many of the food poisoning incidents take place not when eating outside food but rather when having home cooked food. So we can assume that the core problem lies in our careless methods of storing or cooking the food.
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It only takes a little care and concern to avoid contamination of the food we cook. A few facts that all housewives should know:
Some Bacterial Facts
Time - In ideal conditions, one bacterium can multiply to 2,097,152 within seven hours.
Temperature - Food poisoning bacteria grow best in the temperature range, 5 degrees C - 60 degrees C.
Duration - The longer you store a food after it is cooked, greater is the risk of food poisoning.
Water - Without moisture, the growth of bacteria slows down and may stop. Drying is an effective form of food preserving.

High Risk Foods
The types of foods which bacteria prefer include dairy products, egg products, meat and poultry, processed meat and chicken products, fish, shellfish and fish products. Because bacteria multiply rapidly in these foods, they are known as high risk foods. So vegetarians are at a lower risk of being affected with food poisoning.

Food poisoning prevention can be simplified into three rules: keep food clean, cook food adequately, and keep hot food hot and cold food cold.
If you think you might have been affected by food poisoning, report it to your doctor. It is important that you also report it to the food section of the Dubai Municipality as soon as possible. You can lodge your complaint at 04-2064263. Retain any leftover food which you believe might have caused you to become ill.
Have you ever been affected by food poisoning? Share your experience with GoDubai

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