With the increase in temperatures now approaching 80 degrees for highs in La Paz, local officials are out inspecting traditional beach food stalls to make sure the food is kept at proper temperatures to be safe for tourists.
Food Stall Inspections Increase
The State Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks announced recently that they will be working on seasonal inspections of the food stalls in La Paz to make sure business owners are properly regulating the temperature of the food.
This is to avoid any possibility of food born disease for tourists visiting the area.
They intend to inspect and get the temperature of anything and everything that could carry a risk.
Due to the increase in fish and shellfish eaten before Easter, the priority is those items. This is especially the case because they have been known to cause food-borne diseases from improper temperature management. Those that sell fresh fish are also part of these inspections.
Water Quality Also Monitored
Additionally, the local officials announced that they were run precautionary checks on bodies of water and the La Paz water purification plant to make sure that it is running correctly as well.
Stagnant bodies of water can harbor mosquitos that can spread diseases such as the West Nile Virus.
Tourists can also get sick from taking showers using poorly purified water. Tourists are typically not recommended to drink the water in Mexico and used bottled water instead for everything from making coffee to brushing their teeth.
Exceptions are if visitors are from the area or already accustomed to the water.
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Progress Made With Inspections
State Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks Commissioner José Manuel Larumbe added that so far this year, more than 200 verifications have taken place and nearly 200 recommendations have been issued and more than 250 corrective actions have been required.
He mentioned that tourists in La Paz should be comfortable knowing that the local officials are actively inspecting and monitoring the vendors and their food safety and quality.
No incidents have been reported of tourists or locals getting sick at the food stalls or from the water supply in La Paz.
The Risk From Food Borne Disease
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, there are 48 million cases of food borne diseases every year.
Most of the instances are due to improper food handling and improper cooking temperatures, often at home.
Campylobacter is the most common species causing food borne disease in the United States. It can be transferred by contaminated water, undercooked poultry and seafood and unpasteurized cheese and dairy products.
Symptoms include gastrointestinal issues two to five days after exposure and typically last up to 10 days. It could cause a life threatening situation if it spreads to the bloodstream.
Another common species is the well-known Salmonella which can contaminate a number of different foods, including meats, eggs, and vegetables.
Of special concern with Salmonella is the risk of Enteric fever which is almost exclusively contracted by people outside the United States. It is connected to poorly treated drinking water, often connected to sewage.
Up to 10% of people contracting Enteric fever may have a life-threatening experience.
How To Protect Yourself
The best method to protect yourself from food and water-borne disease while in La Paz or Los Cabos is to make sure food is cooked thoroughly and inspect to ensure meat and shellfish are not raw before eating.
Frequent handwashing, especially after handling raw meat, fish, and shellfish, is another good way to avoid food-borne diseases.
Also, avoid eating any unpasteurized milk, dairy, and cheese products from local vendors in La Paz and Los Cabos.
Typhoid shots are also recommended before visiting areas where typhoid is endemic. That is not the case in Mexico, as the last real cases of typhoid fever were about 50 years ago.
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