Interview about the FBIs and important advices to prevent them

“Food Safety is a probability. You must take into consideration where you are eating, if the precedence of the food was assured and if the place where you are eating uses clean water.”


Source: Milenka Palacios Chávez

María Estela, fishering engineer, has a Masters Degree in Food Technology and studies of specialization in Germany in the area of Technology and Preservation of Food; in the US about HACCP and in England about Food Biotechnology.

She has already been working for the Government for about 35 years as the Director of Research of the Institute of Fishery Technology of Peru. Furthermore, she has worked for 2.5 years as the National Director of Fishery Sanitary, which belongs also to theInstitute of Fishery Technology.

Since aproximately 25 years ago, María Estela teaches in the National University  Federico Villareal in the Food Sciences School, as well as in the San Ignacio de Loyola University in the career of Agroindustry since 6 years ago.

María Estela will talk about the FBI, what are they, where and how do they occur and which are the most prone type of food to present them, offering important recommendations to prevent them.

What are the FBIs?

The FBIs (Food-borne illnesses) are Illnesses or Diseases transmitted through food. The chemical, biological or physical agents are spread through food, causing the disease.

What can cause these FBI?

The Food-borne Illnesses can cause, depending on the level of severity, from a simple discomfort or a stomachache to death. For example, if we eat rice stored at room temperature, this can cause vomiting or even diarrhea depending on the reaction the body has to, for example, Bacillus subtilis; the one presents 2 toxins: one that gets inside and the other that causes diarrhea. And this is a relatively mild symptom, if we compared it with Salmonella or Histamine, which may cause a higher risk in people especially vulnerable.

It is different to talk about Histamine in a normal person like you and me, or talk about Histamine in a person that takes pills because of cardiovascular diseases. And so, if we go to the other side of the story, we can see that an ingestion of Clostridium Botulinum in canned food, for example, can cause even death.

Which food is more prone to get contaminated and cause a FBI, why?

Food that is more prone to get contaminated are the ones that have a low percentage of acidity and are placed between the range 5-65 ºC, which is the growth and proliferation temperature of toxins, and even of their formation.

Examples of this type of food are the fishery products, meat, eggs and milk, since this food is high-protein foods, what microorganisms like the most and they also have a high value of water activity (strongly related to the water content in the food), which is also a great facilitator of various actions of deterioration. The relation is indirect: the higher the water activity (can be seen as more water content in the food), the lower the shelf life of the food; unlike the granular products such as cereal or flours, where one can expect to keep food at room temperature without refrigeration and with higher shelf lives.

Which preventive measures are recommended in these cases?

Emphasize in the quality of water, with the one we wash food and especially that the kids always eat cooked products. If they are going to eat ceviche, it is important to assure that the ingredients are truly safe.

In the case of buying fish, we must know that we have to take it home quickly and refrigerate it before preparing it, while in the case of chicken, you can wait a little longer, finish with the purchases and arrive home a little bit later without worrying. Furthermore, it is important to remember to take out from the freezer only what is going to be eaten during the day.

How can we be sure that we are not ingesting a food that can cause an ETA?

“Food Safety is a probability. You must take into consideration where you are eating, if the precedence of the food was assured and if the place where you are eating uses clean water.”


If we talk about a person that always eats out, which measures could be considered?

As fas as possible, eat food of low risk. For example, bottled beverages and cooked food. Also, avoid salads, unless it is a place of great security, and as far as possible bring some food from home with you.

In which online source can we find more about Preventing FBI?

In a very friendly Magazine, “EROSKI”, which is published inSpainas a measure of the consumer protection.  You just have to enter Google and write “EROSKI”, and you’ll find the different articles that the magazine publishes.



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