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Don’t Blame Your Last Meal

If you ate with friends and all of you come down with vomiting or diarrhoea at the same time, there’s a good chance there was something wrong with that meal. But sometimes you can’t track it down so neatly and it’s hard to know where exactly the culprit came from.

A bout of illness can come from something as simple as a sick worker who didn’t wash their hands, explaining why restaurants with poor food-safety scores aren’t necessarily more likely to make people sick: not all of the factors that make sickness likely are measured by inspection reports.

So if you can’t always blame your last meal, who should you blame? It turns out there’s a pretty big window of opportunity, depending on what exactly made you sick. Norovirus will live in your body for one to three days before you show symptoms; that time is known as the incubation period. Campylobacter, common in poultry, takes 2-5 days. Clostridium perfringens may strike the same day, within 8-16 hours. E. coli takes up to three days, although the nastier forms may take as long as a week. Salmonella is another quick one, striking in as little as 6 hours or up to 2 days.

CFT QLD provide food handler and food safety supervisor training online, onsite for groups and by correspondence.

To read more 28 August 2015