Can chickpeas cause food poisoning?

Many summer festivals end in disaster. From the overflowing buffet, from all the lovingly prepared dishes, only the consequences remain in your memory: violent stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea. In addition to some viruses such as the norovirus, bacteria are primarily responsible for such diseases. Doctors differentiate between whether bacteria trigger the symptoms themselves. Doctors call these diseases food infections. Other bacteria produce toxins that make you sick. In this case, experts speak of food poisoning. An overview of the most common triggers of such diseases.

Campylobacter: King of the diarrhea pathogens

Although salmonella is the best known food germ, Campylobacter infections are more common. In Germany alone, 70,000 cases are registered every year, reports the Robert Koch Institute. The bacteria are mainly found in raw poultry meat. Therefore: fry the chicken legs, turkey legs and Co. well. "The meat should also be white to gray in color in the core and on the bone," says Heidi Wichmann-Schauer, hygiene expert at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. Because like most food germs, you can kill Campylobacter by heating it. The bacterium is also found less frequently in raw milk and in beef and pork.

In contrast to Salmonella, Campylobacter can survive in food for a certain time; the germ does not multiply in food, but only in the human body. Patients only get stomach pain and diarrhea after two to five days. Headache and fever can also occur. In rare cases, patients suffer from nerve disorders and joint inflammation.

The most important countermeasure in the event of diarrhea: Refill the water balance. So drink, drink, drink - at least three to four liters a day. Sugared teas or salty soups, with which you can counteract the loss of salt at the same time, are best.

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How to protect yourself from food germs

Salmonella: lurking on the eggshell

Salmonella used to be the cause of most food infections. "Apparently an EU program to control the pathogens in chickens has led to a decrease in the number of patients," reports Wichmann-Schauer. In Germany, fewer than 13,000 illnesses were reported to the Robert Koch Institute in 2016; in 2006 there were just under 53,000 cases

Salmonella is found mainly on eggs and in raw pork and poultry meat. But mostly only in small numbers, so that you can eat fresh food without regrets. When you break eggs to prepare fresh mayonnaise, a delicious tiramisu, pudding or the like, some pathogens may be washed from the shell into the food. Their number doubles every hour at room temperature. "If you leave a dish with raw eggs or egg whites unrefrigerated from noon to evening, that's enough to get a food infection," says Karsten Fehlhaber, veterinarian at the University of Leipzig.

The germs can also reach vegetables via animal manure or contaminated water. You should therefore always rinse raw vegetables well. However: In 2008 the Viennese scientist Heribert Hirt surprised with the discovery that Salmonella can also survive in plant cells and even multiply there. In 2007, 0.3 to 2.7 percent of raw vegetables in Europe were infected with salmonella, Hirt estimates. Unfortunately, when salmonella thrive inside lettuce and the like, washing raw vegetables no longer helps.

The most common bacteria are Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Enteritidis. Compared to Campylobacter infections, the symptoms appear much earlier: after eight to 72 hours. So-called salmonellosis is also manifested by diarrhea and vomiting. Abdominal pain, nausea, fever and headache can also occur. The symptoms of the disease can last for several days.

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