EATING CONTAMINATED VEGETABLES CAN RESULT TO BLOODY DIARRHEA
Cooked vegetables and salad greens are favorite appetizers and side dishes during gatherings. However, experts warn the public to be cautious of preparing veggies as they can be contaminated by disease-causing bacteria during food preparation.
According to microbiologist Dr. Windell Rivera, one bacteria type that can contaminate vegetables is Yersinia enterocolitica (Y. enterocolitica).
Although this bacteria type can mainly be contracted from eating raw or undercooked meat, vegetables are highly susceptible to bacteria through cross contamination in the kitchen.
"Sa kusina, pwedeng mangyari ang cross contamination lalo na kung gagamit ka ng cutting board, ginagamit mo yung cutting board for the meat, ginagamit mo rin for salad preparations (Cross contamination can happen in the kitchen especially when using a cutting board. Contaminated meat sliced on the cutting board can contaminate your salad if the latter is sliced on the same cutting board)," he said.
Rivera added, toxins produced by Y. enterocolitica can result to worse cases.
"Nagproproduce ito ng toxin that can cause diarrhea. Ang isa siguro na manifestation ng Yersinia infection ay yung bloody diarrhea ([Y. enterocolitica] can produce toxins that can result to bloody diarrhea)."
US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said other common symptoms of Y. enterocolitica infection include fever and abdominal pain.
Experts however said uncomplicated cases of diarrhea resolve on their own without antibiotic treatment. However, if infection becomes severe, antibiotics might need to be administered. But experts said the public must seek medical help to supply the proper antibiotic type.
Experts added improperly washed vegetables can also be hiding other poisonous bacteria.
"Salad siyempre commonly contaminated ito ng soil so makikita sa lettuce cabbage ay listeria monocytogenes, E.coli, and Salmonella (Salads can be contaminated in the soil. Listeria monocytogenes, E.coli, and Salmonella are among the bacteria that can be found on lettuce and cabbage)," said Rivera.
Listeria, E. coli, and Salmonella are known to cause gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever or nausea to humans.
In order to avoid diseases, experts said purchased vegetables must be fresh. Thorough washing is also a must to lessen the bacteria.
As much as possible, the public is advised to use separate utensils, cutting boards, and kitchen knives for vegetables and meat to avoid cross contamination. Lastly, maintaining overall cleanliness in the kitchen can help prevent disease.