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Is there a risk of cross-contamination in appliances such as Air Fryers? Understand

Electric fryers, better known by their English name “air fryer “, became popular because they offer greater practicality in preparing everyday meals. Furthermore, they are considered allies of a healthy diet as they provide fried foods without the use of oil. However, not properly cleaning this appliance can pose health risks, according to experts interviewed by CNN .

According to Gerson Nogueira de Moraes, gastroenterologist at Hospital do Servidor Público Estadual (HSPE), reusing the Air Fryer without cleaning it correctly can increase the risk of cross-contamination of food . “This contamination occurs precisely through the accidental transfer, direct or indirect, to food, of physical, chemical or biological contaminants harmful to human health”, he states.

Lack of adequate hygiene of electric fryers and other household appliances that come into contact with food can increase the risk of contamination by agents such as viruses, bacteria and parasites. “These microorganisms are present on various surfaces, including food itself and human skin. Therefore, it is important to correctly sanitize the Air Fryer and the hands of those who handle the food”, emphasizes Moraes.

Cross-contamination leads to food poisoning, resulting from eating food in which bacteria or other organisms have grown that produce toxins that are harmful to health. Generally, the types of bacteria that are involved in this type of contamination, according to the gastroenterologist, are Salmonella, Shiguella, Escherichia coli, Clostridium and Staphylococcus.

What are the signs of food poisoning?

Symptoms of food poisoning usually appear quickly after eating contaminated food. According to Moraes, the main warning signs are:

  • Fever;
  • Chills;
  • Body ache;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Abdominal cramps;
  • Flatulence;
  • Diarrhea.

Poor hygiene also increases the risk of cross-contact with allergens

Reusing the Air Fryer without proper hygiene also increases the risk of contact with food allergens that is, they cause food allergy . This is what warns Lucila Camargo, Coordinator of the Scientific Department of Food Allergy at the Brazilian Association of Allergy and Immunology (ASBAI).

Food allergy is an exaggerated response of the body's defense system against food proteins. Any food can cause food allergies, the most common being milk, eggs, soy, wheat, seafood, peanuts and tree nuts.

According to the expert, if a food is prepared in an electric fryer and, shortly afterwards, a person allergic to it reuses the appliance without proper cleaning, they may have an allergic reaction, even if the quantity present in the basket is minimal. In more serious cases, this reaction can be life-threatening, as it can lead to anaphylaxis, a condition characterized by shortness of breath, closure of the glottis and a drop in blood pressure.

“A small amount can cause serious reactions”, warns Camargo. “Depending on the case, it is necessary to carry self-injectable adrenaline to control the crisis until arrival at the emergency room”, he explains.

Mild to moderate food allergy symptoms may include itchy red patches on the body, swelling in the mouth, eyes or other parts of the body, nausea and vomiting.

How to properly clean the Air Fryer?

Correct cleaning of the Air Fryer must be done after each use with washing with running water and soap or detergent , as advised by Moraes. In the external area of ​​the equipment, you can use a damp cloth to clean it.

“It is important to remember that all handling of food and utensils for its preparation must be preceded by adequate hand hygiene, by washing with running water and soap”, he highlights.

Source: CNN Brasil

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