We have all been there at one point or another and for some often…when we dig through our refrigerators foraging for something to eat and we come across a particular food item or meal – be it leftovers or something that has been sitting in the fridge for some time which we think is still ‘safe’ enough to eat. So we do the ritual ‘tests’ – it looks good to eat (nothing has tuned grey or moldy), we then proceed to give it the ol’ sniff test. Nothing smells fowl here..so far so good. Lastly we take a bite and if we don’t get a knee jerk reaction to our taste buds – then green light ahead! By doing so, we are playing Russian Roulette with your stomachs. We can easily be subjecting our stomachs to potential food-borne diseases that we never thought of…say hello to spending time with the porcelain queen!
The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that each year roughly one in eight Canadians (or four million people) get sick due to domestically acquired food-borne diseases. This estimate provides the most accurate picture yet of which food-borne bacteria, viruses, and parasites (“pathogens”) are causing the most illnesses in Canada, as well as estimating the number of food-borne illnesses without a known cause. In general, Canada has a very safe food supply; however, this estimate shows that there is still work to be done to prevent and control food-borne illness in Canada, to focus efforts on pathogens which cause the greatest burden and to better understand food-borne illness without a known cause.
Food poisoning occurs when a person gets sick from eating food that has been contaminated with harmful bacteria, parasites or viruses. The most common symptoms of food poisoning include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.
Causes of Food Poisoning
Food poisoning occurs when contaminated food or water is ingested. Contamination can occur anywhere along the process of obtaining and eating food – it can occur during growing, harvesting, processing, storing, or preparation stages. In most cases, bacteria, viruses, or parasites are transferred to food from other sources, making these organisms the most common causes of food poisoning. However, in some less common types of food poisoning, the poison or toxin is naturally part of the food (e.g., poisonous mushrooms or fish). Other less common causes include shellfish and insecticides.
Bacteria and bacterial toxins: Many bacteria can cause food poisoning, either directly or by the toxins they produce. Some of the most common include Salmonella, E. coli, Shigella, Staphylococcus, and Clostridium perfringens. Many bacterial causes of food poisoning can be found in undercooked meats, poultry, eggs, dairy, processed meats, fish, custards, cream pies, and contaminated water.
|Steps to prevent food poisoning
Now what if I told you that there is a European company who is in the midst of patenting their product which will detect if your next meal is safe enough to chow down on? Now that would make the difference between a great weekend and one that could be spent in pain and agony crying for your mom in the fetal position…you get my drift.
Say hello to PERES!
PERES is the world’s first portable “electronic nose” – a unique and innovative device and mobile application which enables users to determine the quality and freshness of: pork, beef, chicken and fish.
It is designed to detect:
|PERES, world’s first ‘electronic nose’ to prevent
- whether a product is fresh
- whether it is hazardous to health
- whether there is a risk of food poisoning
- whether it has been left unrefrigerated for some time
PERES is ideally suited for people who are keen to ensure that they are providing themselves and their families with healthier foods, and to consume only the best quality products. Using PERES at the market before purchasing a product can give users valuable information before buying; PERES can also be used on food products that have already been bought to ascertain whether they are still safe to consume, thereby potentially reducing food wastage.
How does PERES work?
More than 100 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be detected in the near vicinity of decomposing beef, pork, poultry and fish, some of which can be used as indicators of freshness.
||The device has four types of sensors: temperature, humidity, amonia and volatile organic compounds sensors.
||To operate the device, the user simply directs it towards the food product and clicks a button.
||The device uses Bluetooth technology to transmit data to the user’s smartphone or tablet, which displays a detailed results with recommendations regarding the safety of the product.
The device uses Bluetooth technology to transmit data to the user’s smartphone or tablet, which displays a detailed results with recommendations regarding the safety of the product.
PERES sensors detect volumes of VOCs in the sample, and readings are then adjusted taking into account temperature and humidity. These data are used to calculate findings and results.
Users control PERES, start the sampling process, analyse the results of readings and share their experiences with friends just by interfacing with a user-friendly environment on their phone or tablet.
**For those unable to view the video on your mobile, here are the links to view the videos which explain how PERES works http://www.youtube.com/Peres and how it was created http://www.youtube.com/Peres- the science behind it
For now, till we can get products like PERES…your best bet to avoid a potential food poisoning situation from ruining your plans and leaving you in pain and agony is to trust the ol’ saying: When in doubt, throw it out!
Safe eating everyone,