Oh crap! Food mistakes are poison for Gladstone locals
POO-contaminated food, under-cooked meats and dodgy seafood are making hundreds of Gladstone residents sick each year.
A special Observer investigation reveals 3838 Central Queenslanders had food poisoning in the past five years.
Last year saw 634 easily preventable cases of gastrointestinal disease including 325 reports of campylobacter, 25 of cryptosporidiosis and 255 cases of salmonella, Queensland Health notifiable disease data shows.
Most of these illnesses are caused by faeces-laden food or water, incorrectly prepared meats, bad seafood and questionable leftovers. Food poisoning costs the Australian economy $1.2billion a year.
Disease expert Dr Vincent Ho urged locals to make simple changes in the kitchen to keep these diseases at bay.
"Anyone can get these types of infections but some people are more susceptible to them including the elderly, those with poor immune systems and those who are very sick," the University of Western Sydney academic said.
"In general campylobacter and salmonella can come from contact with different food but cryptosporidiosis is a bit different as it can be found in natural water sources like recreational water parks, rivers and areas where faecal matter is in the water.
"Infections can make you quite sick but people who are vulnerable can become extremely sick and die from the conditions."
Dr Ho said suggested these simple steps to avoid food poisoning:
Separate raw red meats, poultry and eggs from other foods;
Wash fruits and vegies before eating;
Use a separate cloth to dry dishes;
Avoid eating under-cooked meats;
Use different chopping boards for meats and other foods; and
Wash hands thoroughly.
"If you want to really reduce the likelihood of contamination wash your hands for at least 15 seconds," he said.
Central Queensland Hospital and Health Environmental Services manager Paul Florian said the health service was proactive in ensuring disease rates were kept down.
"Environmental health officers work with local government in investigating illness outbreaks, inspecting food businesses and conducting surveys for compliance with food safety and public health standards," Mr Florian said.
"Officers also visit childcare centres, schools and other establishments to conduct training on hand hygiene and disease transmission prevention." - NewsRegional
BY THE NUMBERS
Gastrointestinal disease notifications across Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service region in 2018
Hepatitis A, 0
Hepatitis E, 0
Shiga toxin-producing E.coli, 0