MPH 520 Reducing Your Risk

Humans interact with many things in the environment which creates complex
relationships. This close existence, which offers many benefits, is also a source of infectious disease
among people, a leading cause of global mortality and morbidity (Maxwell, 2009). There are three
different modes of transmission of infectious disease: by closeness or contact, by some environmental
medium, or by vector (Maxwell, 2009). Being able to identify risks and ways reduce risk is critical to halt
the transmission of infectious disease.
I think that one way my family could reduce our risk would be understanding foodborne illness
and food safety. Although I encourage my family to practice safe food handling, I find that in our
household we are not always true to what should be done while preparing food and bringing food into
our home. After we go to the grocery store, there are usually several other stops that need to be made
before going home to unload the groceries. At this point we are unable to control the environment and
potentially create a place where pathogenic bacteria could survive (Maxwell, 2009). Most human
pathogens survive and multiply at temperatures from 40◦ F to 140◦ F, a temperature range known in food
safety as the danger zone (Maxwell, 2009). It is important to remember that to prevent contamination
food must remain hot or remain cold. Our family could do a better job of planning on going to the store
and then heading straight home. By doing this we would reduce the risk of the food becoming
contaminated by putting it in a controlled environment where there would be less of a chance for
contamination to occur.
My family could also become more aware of Salmonella and cross-contamination while
cooking. There have been several occasions when my dad was grilling and used the same place before
and after preparation of the meat or chicken. I think that part of it is that we may become lackadaisical
and not even think about contamination. Other times I have heard my parents say they would like to
save the time on dishes, therefore use the same plate. We may have not been affected by Salmonella or
Campylobacter but by practicing such habits creates a higher chance of foodborne pathogens affecting
our family. Simply washing dishes or using two different plates while cooking is a solution to this
According to the CDC (2012), each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick,
128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. These statics show that foodborne
disease are a risk and affect many Americans each year. If my family would be more conscious of
foodborne disease, how they are transmitted, and how the spread of such disease could be prevented,
we would in turn reduce our risk.
The World Health Organization (2012) also recognized the risks that are associated with
foodborne disease and have created Five Keys to Safer Food. The five keys include keep clean, separate
raw and cooked, cook thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures and use safe water and raw materials
(WHO, 2012). Using those five tips, our household would reduce our risk even more. These changes
would be effective in our house. My family would decrease our chances of cross-contamination which
could result in foodborne illness. Also, understanding how to keep food safe would be beneficial and
contribute to staying healthy and reducing our risk.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). CDC. In Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United
States. Retrieved November 14, 2012, from
Maxwell, Nancy Irwin. (2009). Understanding Environmental Health, How We Live in the World. Jones
and Bartlett.
World Health Organization. (2012). WHO. In Prevention of foodborne diseases: Five keys to safer food.
Retrieved November 14, 2012, from