Why holiday food poisoning occurs in Tunisia

17th May 2011
By Adrian Vultur in Medical Malpractice
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Holiday food poisoning occurs in Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, Turkey and at other resorts around the world when not enough attention is given to food hygiene.

Food should always be stored, handled and cooked properly to prevent the spread of illness, and cutlery and crockery should always be thoroughly cleaned. Store chemicals away from food preferably in a cool and dry storeroom. Store chemical containers in an upright position and firmly closed. Ensure all containers are labeled correctly. Never use empty food or drink containers for storing chemicals because of the risk of a mistake being made.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions about dilution rates. A solution that is too strong may damage surfaces and one that is too weak will be ineffective.
Make a fresh solution at least daily. Do not leave cloths, mops or brushes in a disinfectant solution which has been used. The dirt will inactivate the disinfectant and the cleaning equipment will become a breeding ground for micro organisms.

Pots, pans and other cooking vessels should be washed separately from crockery and cutlery. A tap proportioned can be fitted which will draw the correct amount of detergent from a container and mix it with the water. Scouring pads should be available. Stubborn grease can be removed by adding an alkali such as washing soda (sodium bicarbonate). To ensure that cleaning is not overlooked it is a good idea to draw up a cleaning schedule which lists the items to be cleaned, the frequency and method of cleaning and the name of the person to whom the task is allotted in holiday hotels.

A cleaning routine should be established for all large articles of equipment in use in the kitchen. As a general rule, all equipment which comes into direct contact with food should be cleaned after every use. Other surfaces and equipment should be cleaned as necessary.

It would be unrealistic for anyone to think that a kitchen can be made free from bacteria but there are several general principles concerning kitchen design and the layout of equipment which will help to reduce the risk of cross contamination of foods. Apart from looking unpleasant, food crumbs, spillage from cooking, grease and dirt splashed on walls and on the floor, condensation on the ceiling and dust on window sills and floors will all be likely sources of pathogenic bacteria.

The main consideration in designing a kitchen is that the layout should allow easy cleaning and a continuous work-flow from receiving raw foods through preparation and cooking to final presentation. Equipment should be movable or should be placed where it is possible to clean at the back, sides and underneath as well as at the front. If the equipment is not movable, it should, where possible, be built-in with one continuous surface between the equipment and the wall or floor so that dirt and grease cannot lodge in joints and corners. A spacious kitchen is easier to keep clean and run hygienically than a small cramped kitchen.

If the food at a holiday hotel in Tunisia has caused symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea, you should make an immediate complaint to the holiday representative and keep a copy of anything you sign. Gather as much evidence of poor standards of food and hygiene as possible, including photographic evidence if relevant and contact a personal injury solicitor in the UK when you arrive home.

Adrian vultur writes for Tunisia holiday illness claims
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