Food Safety & Fruit Part 2

Food Safety & Fruit Part 2

Food Safety & Fruit Part 2. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Fruit Grower Report.

Janet Anderberg, retired Washington State Public Health Advisor says that a lot of people do not fully understand that food borne illnesses can go far beyond vomiting and diarrhea. Many other serious conditions can be a result from not properly preparing or storing foods.

ANDERBERG: In the state of Washington the CDC estimates are that 100 people a year, every year die from food poisoning in our state. Most of those people who die are people who already have an underlying health condition but not all of them. Underlying health conditions are pretty interesting because some of them are things like pregnancy – that’s an underlying health condition. Old age or a young age.

Anderberg says that the types of bacteria we typically hear about, e. coli and salmonella are really not the main causes of food illnesses.

ANDERBERG: But of all those the leading pathogen in the state of Washington by far is campylobacter jejuni. When it comes to viruses Hepatitis A gets a lot of press, for us it isn’t even close. The viral contamination in the state of Washington when it comes to food is norovirus. Speaking of norovirus it’s the leading pathogen associated with food borne disease in our stat period.

So what does all this have to do with fruit? She says the biggest factor in the contamination of food products is…people.

ANDERBERG: Produce can be contaminated in the field; it can be contaminated during processing or transportation. It can be contaminated at retail big time – grocery stores, restaurants, farmers markets – and certainly can be contaminated at home as well.

For additional information on how to cut down on food borne illnesses contact your local health department.

That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.

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