Hepatitis A foods to avoid: What foods can be sources of hepatitis A?
Unpeeled or uncooked vegetables and fruits, shellfish (such as oysters or clams) and contaminated ice and water are hepatitis A foods to avoid.
In the Philippines, street foods are fan favorites, particularly isaw (grilled pig intestines), betamax (coagulated chicken blood cut into squares and skewered) and barbecue, among others. These are often sold on sidewalks. According to experts, these may cause diseases in the intestinal tract.
Microbiologist Windell Rivera from the University of the Philippines says that raw meat and poultry—the meats with which these street foods are cooked—are prone to contamination by certain bacteria. For instance, salmonella and listeria can contaminate poultry.
In the case of street foods where different meats are cooked or grilled on one apparatus, cross-contamination of bacteria is possible. Meats cooked in the same wok or grill are examples of hepatitis A foods to avoid.
Rivera added that bacteria may produce toxins which leads to gastrointestinal disease. In some instances, improperly cooked street meats can infect a person with hepatitis A. In severe cases, even kidney failure can occur.
Hepatitis A foods to avoid: How do we practice safe food handling?
The United States Food and Drug Administration recommends the following steps to avoid contamination:
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw food.
- Wash hands after using the bathroom or changing a baby’s diaper.
- Clean the inner walls and shelves of refrigerators as well as countertops, cutting boards and utensils. Sanitize them with a solution of a tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water and then dry with clean cloth or paper towel.
Experts advise restaurants and retailers to follow similar precautions, and to conduct regular cleaning and sanitizing of their premises and materials.