The Korea Food and Drug Safety Agency has urged households and restaurants to strictly adhere to food safety guidelines to prevent bacterial food poisoning as a result of the recent increase in temperatures.
According to the agency, there have been a total of 198 reports of suspected food poisoning cases since the beginning of this year until April, indicating a rising trend in reports caused by pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli compared to the same period over the past five years.
Particularly concerning is the increase in reports caused by pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and Clostridium perfringens compared to the same period in the past five years (2018-2022), according to the agency.
Among the cases where pathogenic E. coli was confirmed as the cause of food poisoning, many were attributed to careless handling and preparation of salads, as well as the consumption of raw or improperly cooked vegetables.
To prevent such incidents, the agency emphasized the importance of thoroughly washing and refrigerating raw vegetables before consumption.
For large-scale cooking, it is recommended to immerse the produce in chlorine-based disinfectant for about 5 minutes and rinse with running tap water 2-3 times.
In the case of salmonella-related food poisoning, it primarily occurs when individuals handle eggs and fail to wash their hands before cooking or cross-contaminate other utensils.
Therefore, it is crucial to wash hands with detergent after handling eggs or poultry and ensure that eggs are cooked at a temperature of 75 degrees Celsius or higher for at least one minute, added the agency.
Foodborne illness caused by Staphylococcus aureus can occur when food that has been prepared with unwashed hands is left at room temperature.
Therefore, it is advisable to wear disposable gloves during food preparation and maintain a clean environment, refrigerating the food after cooking.
Clostridium perfringens bacteria dislike oxygen and thrive in environments rich in amino acids, making it more likely to cause food poisoning when large quantities of dishes like stir-fried pork or braised short ribs are prepared and left at room temperature.
To prevent C. perfringens food poisoning, it is recommended to either keep the cooked food hot until serving or quickly cool it down and refrigerate, avoiding leaving it at room temperature.
The agency emphasized the need for heightened vigilance in preventing bacterial food poisoning due to the predicted hotter-than-average summer, stating that norovirus-related food poisoning is still prevalent and highlighting the importance of handwashing with soap, thorough cooking, and proper food storage temperature compliance.