We can’t often see what goes into the food we eat outside or how it is prepared in restaurants and canteens. This means we pretty much rely on food handlers to ensure cleanliness and hygiene. But what happens when they don’t do this basic check?
Well, the answer is simple: our health takes the beating!
This is precisely what happened at the International French School in Singapore. A food poisoning news coming from this prestigious institution has shocked all the islanders. It’s been reported by The Straits Times that more than 151 students and staff had symptoms of gastroenteritis after eating at a school’s canteen.
Food Poisoning News That Shook The Island: Students And Staff Infected
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The incident allegedly took place at the famous International French School in Ang Mo Kio, on Tuesday (20 April). And by Friday, (23 April) more than 151 students and staff had reported sick after consuming food from the canteen. Following the food poisoning news, the school closed the cafeteria for a week.
The school’s communications director, Mr Sebastien Barnard, told The Straits Times that several parents reported that “their children had gastrointestinal symptoms after eating from the canteen.”
The school is working with the canteen supplier to conduct a full investigation into the case. “We ceased canteen operations immediately and are now working with our canteen supplier to conduct a full investigation into the possible causes,” Mr Barnard said.
In fact, food in the school’s canteen is catered by Chartwells. This is the same company that was involved in another mass food poisoning incident that happened at the residential colleges of NUS in 2019.
In another food poisoning news, 15 people experienced gastroenteritis symptoms. They fell ill after consuming food from Kin Hoi, a seafood stall at 6 Holland Close, between 28 March and 15 April.
The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) ordered Kin Hoi, to suspend its food business operations till further notice. In fact, all the food handlers at Kin Hoi will now have to re-attend and pass the Food Safety Course Level 1. They will have to do so before resuming work.
If you recall, SFA reminds food operators time and again to maintain hygiene. But inspite of SFA cracking its whip on errant operators, food poisoning news is still coming from far and wide. In fact, some food poisoning incidents have also been life-threatening.
For those uninitiated, we’ve listed down major symptoms of food poisoning. This way, when you eat from outside and notice any of these symptoms, you’ll know what’s happening to your body.
Watch Out For These Food Poisoning Symptoms
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If you are suffering from food poisoning, it is unlikely that the symptoms will go undetected. The length of time it takes for symptoms to appear also depends on the source of the infection. But generally, symptoms can last from as little as one hour to as long as 28 days.
Here are some of the common symptoms to watch out:
If you or anybody in the family is suffering from severe form of food poisoning, you may even notice the following symptoms.
Diarrhoea persists for more than three days
You have difficulty seeing or speaking
A fever higher than 101.5°F
You can spot bloody urine
Severe dehydration (this may include dry mouth, and/or no urine)
When you do spot any of the above, you must immediately consult with your doctor and get proper medication. Although anybody who consumes unhygienic food can fall victim to food poisoning. But there are some who are more at risk than others.
Who Is Most At Risk Of Food Poisoning?
Pregnant women may stand at an increased risk of food poisoning. Image courtesy: Pexel
According to the Mayo Clinic, if you are pregnant, you are at high risk as your body is still coping with physical changes. so any intrusion by unhealthy or unhygienic food can cause disruption to your system. It can even introduce viruses into your system, which may not be prepared to fight them off.
Elderly individuals also face a greater risk of contracting food poisoning. This is because their immune systems may not respond quickly to infectious organisms.
Finally, children are also considered an ‘at-risk population.’ Their immune systems aren’t as developed as those of adults. Plus, children are also equally affected by its side effects such as dehydration from vomiting and diarrhoea.
How To Treat Food Poisoning?
Your doctor will treat food poisoning depending on the severity of your symptoms. Some tests that your doctor may prescribe include blood tests, stool tests, and urine tests.
Either way, it’s important to stay hydrated. Whether you consume sports drinks that are high in electrolytes or fruit juice and coconut water. The latter can also easily restore carbohydrates and help with fatigue. The doctor may also prescribe some over-the-counter medicines. Always, check with your doctor before consuming any medicines.
If you’re suffering from food poisoning, your body will also need plenty of rest. Don’t compromise on a good night’s sleep and take a nap if you can during the day too. Same goes for children who may have contracted it too.
Remember that most cases of food poisoning can be treated at home. You can start to feel better within three to five days. But, there are some serious cases that might require hospitalisation even. This can only be determined after a thorough check by your doctor.
In the meantime, follow a few of these steps to protect yourself and your family from food poisoning.
How To Protect Your Family From Food Poisoning
1. Check your diet
Diet forms crucial component of your recovery process. It is best to hold off on solid foods until vomiting has stopped. However, you need to carefully choose your food so as not to trigger the symptoms. Try to add the following items to help with this:
Soda without caffeine (ginger ale, root beer)
You should also avoid:
Food-borne illnesses are usually infectious or toxic in nature. Studies have proved that they are caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances, and they enter the body through contaminated food or water. So, you can take some precautions to avoid your food from getting infected.
2. Cook properly
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The best way to prevent food poisoning is to handle your food safely. According to the National Environment Agency, foods such as meats, seafood and eggs are at higher risk of contamination if not cooked thoroughly.
When these are consumed raw, or if not cooked properly, you may stand a chance of getting infected. So make sure that you cook them thoroughly.
3. Wash your hands
Always wash your hands before cooking or eating food. Inculcate good hygiene habits in your children as well. You can also teach them to sanitise their hands ever so often. This helps to curb the risk of spreading the infection to others.
4. Store food properly
Make sure that your food is properly sealed and stored. You need to be extra careful when the weather is humid or hot. The chances of your food getting contaminated increases manifold in such weather.
Don’t store leftovers at room temperature for more than two hours and place it in the refrigerator once cool. Keep food in the refrigerator for upto three to four days.
5. Avoid cross-contamination
Use separate cutting boards and knives for meats and vegetables. If possible, use different cutlery or tongs to handle cooked and uncooked foods.
In case food tastes suspicious or starts to smell, immediately discard it. Yes, it is bad to waste food, but consuming rotten food, will only affect your health. Amid the surge in food poisoning news, you must be careful and stay alert. Take the necessary precautions and maintain good food hygiene for the safety of your family.