Posted On: August 3, 2023

Preventing Foodborne Illnesses from Ice Cream

Ice cream is a beloved dessert enjoyed by people of all ages. However, it's essential to ensure that the ice cream we consume is safe and free from any harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses.

In this blog, we will explore the causes of foodborne illnesses related to ice cream and provide valuable tips on how to prevent them.

What Is a Foodborne Illness?

Foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning, happens when someone consumes contaminated food or beverages. It occurs when harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins present in the food or water are ingested and affect the body.

Symptoms of Ice Cream Food Poisoning

Like many other foods, ice cream can cause food poisoning if it’s not made, stored, or served correctly. The FDA even advises people to make sure they use pasteurized ingredients when making homemade ice cream.

Some symptoms of ice cream food poisoning include:

  • Stomach pains
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Fever

The Causes of Foodborne Illnesses from Ice Cream

Food poisoning can be caused by various factors. Here are just some of the ways ice cream can cause foodborne illnesses.  

Improper Handling

If ice cream is not handled with proper hygiene, it can become contaminated with harmful bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli. Contaminated hands, utensils, or surfaces can introduce these bacteria into the ice cream, leading to illness when consumed.

Inadequate Storage

Ice cream needs to be stored at the right temperature. If it’s not, bacteria can multiply rapidly. The ideal storage temperature for ice cream is -18°C (0°F) or below. Any temperature above this range can cause bacteria to grow, increasing the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination happens when harmful bacteria from one source is transferred to another. In the case of ice cream, cross-contamination can happen when it comes into contact with contaminated surfaces, such as cutting boards or utensils, that have been used to handle raw meat, poultry, or seafood. The bacteria can then multiply in the ice cream and pose a health risk.

Preventing Foodborne Illnesses from Ice Cream

Follow Good Hygiene Practices

Anyone who handles ice cream should practice good hygiene when doing so. This includes washing hands thoroughly with soap and water, using clean utensils and equipment, and regularly cleaning and sanitizing surfaces that come into contact with ice cream.

Store Ice Cream Properly

Proper storage is vital for maintaining the quality and safety of ice cream. It should be stored in a freezer at a temperature of -18°C (0°F) or below to inhibit the growth of bacteria. Always check the temperature of your freezer and ensure it is set to the appropriate level.

Avoid Cross-Contamination

To prevent cross-contamination, it's important to separate raw and cooked foods. Avoid using the same utensils or surfaces for raw meat, poultry, or seafood and ice cream. Use separate cutting boards and utensils, or thoroughly clean and sanitize them between uses.

Check Expiration Dates

Before purchasing or consuming ice cream, check the expiration dates on the packaging. Expired ice cream may contain harmful bacteria and should be discarded.

Educate Food Handlers

Food handlers should undergo proper training to ensure they understand the risks associated with ice cream and how to handle it safely. Learn2Serve by 360training offers online food handlers certification courses.

Ice Cream Food Poisoning Remedies

If you experience food poisoning, it's crucial to take steps to alleviate symptoms and promote recovery. Here are some remedies to consider:

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea. Opt for water, clear broths, herbal teas, or electrolyte solutions to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes.

Rest

Allow your body to rest and recover. Avoid strenuous activities and give yourself time to recuperate.

Slowly Reintroduce Food

Start with bland, easily digestible foods such as crackers, toast, rice, or boiled potatoes. Avoid spicy, fatty, or greasy foods initially.

Take Probiotics

Probiotics can help restore the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut. Consider consuming yogurt with active cultures or taking probiotic supplements.

Avoid Certain Foods and Drinks

Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and fatty or greasy foods, as they may aggravate your symptoms.

Over-The-Counter Medications

Medications such as antidiarrheal drugs or anti-nausea medications may help relieve specific symptoms. However, consult a healthcare professional or pharmacist before taking any medication to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your situation.

Seek Medical Attention if Necessary

If your symptoms are severe, persist for an extended period, or if you experience signs of dehydration (e.g., extreme thirst, dizziness, reduced urination), it is important to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to food poisoning. Practice safe ice cream handling and proper storage to minimize the risk of contamination and illness. If symptoms worsen or if you have any concerns, always consult with a healthcare professional for appropriate guidance and treatment.

In conclusion, enjoying ice cream should be a delightful experience, free from the worry of foodborne illnesses. Let's prioritize food safety and make sure every scoop of ice cream is a safe and enjoyable treat.

To ensure food safety and gain a comprehensive understanding of proper handling techniques, food handlers can take our convenient food handlers certificate online course. You can start by enrolling today!

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