In today’s food preparation world, waterborne pathogens are becoming a real threat. Why? Simply because in today’s culture, people are quick to blame the food industry for most cases of dysentery or other ill effects caused by bacteria. In this paper, several things will be discussed. To understand what I’m trying to say, you must understand a few key terms. First, let’s define waterborne pathogen.
A waterborne pathogen is a micro-organism whose ability to cause disease has recently been identified. Now that you know what a waterborne pathogen is, let’s name a few:
- Bacteria in the form of Arcobacter Butzleri, Helicobacter Pylori, and E. Coli
Viruses, Rotaviruses, and Adenoviruses Type 40 and 413, as well as Protozoa Acanthamoeba, are identified possible pathogens. However, according to the WRc’s Final Report to the Department of the Environment on Waterborne Pathogens,” several unidentified pathogens may still be dangerous. To understand how these pathogens work and how to destroy them, we must understand several of the parts that make them up.
Some of these parts are: morphology, biochemical characteristics, detection methods, cultural characteristics, health effects, routes of transmission, occurrence in water sources, sources of exposure, and susceptibility to removal or inactivation by conventional water treatment processes. Each of these parts is used in today’s world to identify and destroy existing and new pathogens. What happens if someone ingests a pathogen before it is identified? Well, that is one reason why the Department of the Environment is so concerned. Due to the current environmental status, new pathogens are appearing semi-daily and overwhelming those who are working to stop them. One major example of this is Legionella. Legionella is unique in the fact that 42 strains have been identified, and yet only one is within our ability to control.
Obviously, there is a major shortage of knowledge on pathogens and how to control them. According to the WRC’s report to the Department of the Environment, The threat posed by an organism to contaminate water supplies and cause outbreaks always exists.” Furthermore, they state that “The threat posed by an organism, in terms of its occurrence and distribution in water sources and the ability to remove it, is often poorly understood or completely unknown.” Does this alarm anyone else? The thought that our government admits there are diseases out there that we have no ability to control is alarming. The food industry is blamed for most of the problems that occur due to waterborne pathogens. Let’s examine the logic the government uses to explain this phenomenon. “According to data provided by the Environmental Control Agency, 65% of waterborne pathogens appear in highly populated areas.” Therefore, most of these pathogens arrive via the water supply to city areas. This might explain why most “new” diseases surface in the food service industry, as most restaurants and other food production facilities are centered in cities.
Now that we know there is a problem, what can the food industry do to keep from spreading the ill feelings and actual medical problems surrounding waterborne pathogens? Well, first of all, we all need to recognize the source of the problem and take the appropriate steps to stop it. Supplies of cleansed” water should be on hand. Also, if a pathogen has been linked to your place of business, take the recommended steps to identify where the problem is coming from and stop it. Furthermore, educate your workers about the problem. Education never hurt anyone. In conclusion, the food industry is greatly wronged by the general public when it comes to identifying the causes of certain diseases.
The only way that this problem will ever be resolved is by greater education of the problem.
Works Cited: The main source for this paper was http://www.awwarf.com and the Department of Environmental Conservation final report to the Department of the Environment.