Tuesday, January 1, 2013


If you eat - which goes for all of us - you may well get food poisoning at one or more points in your life. The chances are, you won't be sure if it IS food poisoning, not know exactly what meal or food item caused it, and not report it to the authorities.

Let's look at which of us is more likely to get sick. A lot will depend on:
who you are
what you eat
where you live and eat

The Safe Food Handbook: How to Make Smart Choices about Risky Food (now in second edition, on sale on Amazon and in bookstores) divides people into groups according to their level of risk. Factors like age, health, medicines regularly taken, all enter in to determine whether you are more or less likely to get sick - and, how serious (and yes, sometimes fatal) that illness is likely to be. Two people can eat the same risky meal: one can become very ill, and the other may have almost no symptoms.

Of course, it also depends on what you eat. Basically, people who eat a lot of ready-to-eat foods and raw foods (raw milk, raw cheeses, raw vegetables, raw meat, raw fish are more likely to get ill from their food. No, I am not arguing against raw food diets. That is a personal choice. But when it comes to food risks, many of these consist of bacteria, viruses, parasites, which would be killed by cooking, or in the case of milk and dairy products like cheeses, by pasteurization. It's as simple as that.

So what about where you eat? The country where you live does make a difference, and certain countries have a generally safer food supply than others do. But it also depends if you eat out a lot (restaurants have additional risks) or at catered banquets, or on cruises or planes. The book explains why. And so do some of the earlier posts of the over 400 on this blog.

But the bottom line is that anyone can get food poisoning. Yes, even people who don't believe there is such a thing, who say they can eat anything and be OK. Yes, like a friend of mine who got food poisoning twice last year (see the next post).

To your good health,


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