CPS calls attention to proper food handling

POSTED: 04/29/16 12:07 PM

St. Maarten News – It is essential to observe safe food handling practices at all locations, the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) said in a press statement that also emphasized safe food preparation at home. Food kiosks, street market vendors, booth holders and other points of sale should adhere to these practices to guarantee a safe Carnival season.

Gastroenteritis – the inflammation of the stomach and intestines – is usually due to acute infection by viruses or bacteria or to food-poisoning toxins; it causes vomiting and diarrhea.  Laboratory testing is recommended to identify the specific virus associated to the gastroenteritis.

Unsafe food poses global health threats, endangering everyone.  Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with an underlying illness are particularly vulnerable. 

Foodborne and waterborne diarrheal disease kill an estimated two million people annually, including many children.

Food can become contaminated at any point of production and distribution, and the primary responsibility lies with food producers and consumers.  A large proportion of foodborne disease incidents are caused by foods improperly prepared or mishandled at home, or in food service establishments.

The associated symptoms with gastroenteritis are diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, fever and headache.  The most common symptoms are vomiting and repeated episodes of diarrhea (three or more episodes within 24 hours). To ensure proper diagnosis, care and treatment, CPS advises citizens to consult their physician; for confirmation the physician must referred them to the lab.  

The infection can spread when bacteria found in feces or vomit is transferred to other objects.  Bacteria can be transferred through poor hygiene; they are spread through contamination of hands, objects or infected food.    

For example, if someone does not wash their hands after going to the toilet, any viruses or bacteria on their hands will be transferred to whatever they touch, such as glass, kitchen utensils or food.

To prevent the spread of the infection, wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet and before eating or preparing food. Make it a routine habit to adhere to proper hand hygiene and cough etiquettes,” CPS said. “If you are a food handler or a care taker, and you are diagnosed with gastroenteritis, remain at home practicing good hygiene while you recuperate. This will help to mitigate the further spread of gastroenteritis cases within the community.  Be on the alert and help minimize the spread of diseases by taking the necessary hygienic and preventive steps.”

For information call CPS at 542 20 78, 542 30 03 or email surveillance@sintmaartengov.org

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