March 13, 2015
It was 11p when I woke up out of a dead cold sleep (remember, I have an infant at home – any and all sleep is precious these days even if I go to bed before 10p some days) with that undeniable knowledge that I was going to be sick. And by sick I mean that anything I’d eaten in the last 12 hours made their way back up my throat in a series of episodes that left me ultimately, at 4a, dry heaving and laying on the cold bathroom tile floor until my husband carried me back to bed. I then spent the next 13 hours in bed – only moving to crawl (I didn’t trust that I wouldn’t pass out if I tried to walk) back to the bathroom and retch up what little water I’d actually been able to get into my mouth.
I don’t mean to be overly graphic or overly dramatic but it was, without a doubt, the sickest I’ve been in years and I came very close to calling an ambulance (except that the idea of trying to crawl back to my bedroom to get my phone was just too draining so I stayed on the bathroom floor for a few hours). But why, you ask, share my illness here?
Because it was food poisoning.
For all we talk about good business practices and solid financials, eye-catching packaging and great tasting-tasting innovative products, we have to remember that first and foremost what we’re creating are things that other people are going to ingest and if we don’t remember to focus – every.single.day – on making sure that every single product we turn out of our kitchens is safe then we are putting the very people who trust us enough to try and buy our products at very real risk.
What struck me most was how quickly food poisoning knocked my legs out from underneath me. I’m usually healthy as a horse – rarely even get a cold in winter – and I’m a pretty darn, fit distance runner. So the fact that I couldn’t even walk the 15 steps from my bedroom to my bathroom…that’s scary. What’s even more scary is what if I’d be immunocrompised? What if I’d been a child or elderly person who’s immune system was not as strong?
According to the CDC, 1 in 6 Americans get food poisoning each year and more than 125,000 of them end up needing to be hospitalized for it so it’s no joke and not something to be taken lightly.
I’m back on my feet now, frantically trying to catch up on the two days where I was too sick to hold my baby girl or walk my dog – let alone even try to read and comprehend emails. And I’m grateful that I’m as healthy as I am that I can recover so quickly. I’ll never be 100% sure what was it that was my undoing but it was a powerful reminder that the very first thing we all need to focus on in our businesses is producing a food product that is consistently safe for the public to eat. Sounds simple, right? So let’s do it.