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Foodborne illness

Foodborne illness

Overview
Foodborne illness is any illness
Illness
Illness is a state of poor health. Illness is sometimes considered another word for disease. Others maintain that fine distinctions exist...

 resulting from the consumption of contaminated food
Food spoilage
Spoilage is the process in which food deteriorates to the point in which it is not edible to humans or its quality of edibility becomes reduced. Various external forces are responsible for the spoilage of food. Food that is capable of spoiling is referred to as perishable food.-Reasons:Harvested...

, pathogen
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

ic bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

, virus
Virus
A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea...

es, or parasites that contaminate food, as well as chemical or natural toxin
Toxin
A toxin is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms; man-made substances created by artificial processes are thus excluded...

s such as poisonous mushrooms.



Foodborne illness usually arises from improper handling, preparation, or food storage
Food storage
Food storage is both a traditional domestic skill and is important industrially. Food is stored by almost every human society and by many animals...

. Good hygiene
Hygiene
Hygiene refers to the set of practices perceived by a community to be associated with the preservation of health and healthy living. While in modern medical sciences there is a set of standards of hygiene recommended for different situations, what is considered hygienic or not can vary between...

 practices before, during, and after food preparation can reduce the chances of contracting an illness. There is a consensus in the public health community that regular hand-washing is one of the most effective defenses against the spread of foodborne illness.
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Foodborne illness is any illness
Illness
Illness is a state of poor health. Illness is sometimes considered another word for disease. Others maintain that fine distinctions exist...

 resulting from the consumption of contaminated food
Food spoilage
Spoilage is the process in which food deteriorates to the point in which it is not edible to humans or its quality of edibility becomes reduced. Various external forces are responsible for the spoilage of food. Food that is capable of spoiling is referred to as perishable food.-Reasons:Harvested...

, pathogen
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

ic bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

, virus
Virus
A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea...

es, or parasites that contaminate food, as well as chemical or natural toxin
Toxin
A toxin is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms; man-made substances created by artificial processes are thus excluded...

s such as poisonous mushrooms.

Causes




Foodborne illness usually arises from improper handling, preparation, or food storage
Food storage
Food storage is both a traditional domestic skill and is important industrially. Food is stored by almost every human society and by many animals...

. Good hygiene
Hygiene
Hygiene refers to the set of practices perceived by a community to be associated with the preservation of health and healthy living. While in modern medical sciences there is a set of standards of hygiene recommended for different situations, what is considered hygienic or not can vary between...

 practices before, during, and after food preparation can reduce the chances of contracting an illness. There is a consensus in the public health community that regular hand-washing is one of the most effective defenses against the spread of foodborne illness. The action of monitoring food to ensure that it will not cause foodborne illness is known as food safety
Food safety
Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards....

. Foodborne disease can also be caused by a large variety of toxins that affect the environment. For foodborne illness caused by chemicals, see Food contaminants
Food contaminants
Food contamination refers to the presence in food of harmful chemicals and microorganisms which can cause consumer illness. This article addresses the chemical contamination of foods, as opposed to microbiological contamination, which can be found under Foodborne...

.

Foodborne illness can also be caused by pesticide
Pesticide
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent , antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest...

s or medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

s in food and naturally toxic substances like poisonous mushrooms
Mushroom poisoning
Mushroom poisoning refers to harmful effects from ingestion of toxic substances present in a mushroom. These symptoms can vary from slight gastrointestinal discomfort to death. The toxins present are secondary metabolites produced in specific biochemical pathways in the fungal cells...

 or reef fish
Tetrodotoxin
Tetrodotoxin, also known as "tetrodox" and frequently abbreviated as TTX, sometimes colloquially referred to as "zombie powder" by those who practice Vodou, is a potent neurotoxin with no known antidote. There have been successful tests of a possible antidote in mice, but further tests must be...

.

Bacteria


Bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

 is a common cause of foodborne illness. In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 during 2000 the individual bacteria involved were as follows: Campylobacter jejuni
Campylobacter jejuni
Campylobacter jejuni is a species of curved, helical-shaped, non-spore forming, Gram-negative, microaerophilic bacteria commonly found in animal feces. It is one of the most common causes of human gastroenteritis in the world. Food poisoning caused by Campylobacter species can be severely...

77.3%, Salmonella
Salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

20.9%, Escherichia coli O157:H7
Escherichia coli O157:H7
Escherichia coli O157:H7 is an enterohemorrhagic strain of the bacterium Escherichia coli and a cause of foodborne illness. Infection often leads to hemorrhagic diarrhea, and occasionally to kidney failure, especially in young children and elderly persons...

1.4%, and all others less than 0.1%. In the past, bacterial infections were thought to be more prevalent because few places had the capability to test for norovirus and no active surveillance was being done for this particular agent. Symptoms for bacterial infections are delayed because the bacteria need time to multiply. They are usually not seen until 12–72 hours or more after eating contaminated food.

Most common bacterial foodborne pathogens are:
  • Campylobacter jejuni
    Campylobacter
    Campylobacter is a genus of bacteria that are Gram-negative, spiral, and microaerophilic. Motile, with either unipolar or bipolar flagella, the organisms have a characteristic spiral/corkscrew appearance and are oxidase-positive. Campylobacter jejuni is now recognized as one of the main causes...

    which can lead to secondary Guillain–Barré syndrome and periodontitis
  • Clostridium perfringens
    Clostridium perfringens
    Clostridium perfringens is a Gram-positive, rod-shaped, anaerobic, spore-forming bacterium of the genus Clostridium. C. perfringens is ever present in nature and can be found as a normal component of decaying vegetation, marine sediment, the intestinal tract of humans and other vertebrates,...

    , the "cafeteria germ"
  • Salmonella
    Salmonella
    Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

    spp. – its S. typhimurium infection is caused by consumption of eggs or poultry that are not adequately cooked or by other interactive human-animal pathogens
  • Escherichia coli O157:H7
    Escherichia coli O157:H7
    Escherichia coli O157:H7 is an enterohemorrhagic strain of the bacterium Escherichia coli and a cause of foodborne illness. Infection often leads to hemorrhagic diarrhea, and occasionally to kidney failure, especially in young children and elderly persons...

    enterohemorrhagic (EHEC) which can cause hemolytic-uremic syndrome
    Hemolytic-uremic syndrome
    Hemolytic-uremic syndrome , abbreviated HUS, is a disease characterized by hemolytic anemia, acute renal failure and a low platelet count . It predominantly, but not exclusively, affects children. Most cases are preceded by an episode of diarrhea caused by E. coli O157:H7, which is acquired as a...



Other common bacterial foodborne pathogens are:
  • Bacillus cereus
    Bacillus cereus
    Bacillus cereus is an endemic, soil-dwelling, Gram-positive, rod-shaped, beta hemolytic bacterium. Some strains are harmful to humans and cause foodborne illness, while other strains can be beneficial as probiotics for animals...

  • Escherichia coli
    Escherichia coli
    Escherichia coli is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms . Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and are occasionally responsible for product recalls...

    , other virulence properties, such as enteroinvasive (EIEC), enteropathogenic (EPEC), enterotoxigenic (ETEC), enteroaggregative (EAEC or EAgEC)
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Shigella
    Shigella
    Shigella is a genus of Gram-negative, nonspore forming, non-motile, rod-shaped bacteria closely related to Escherichia coli and Salmonella. The causative agent of human shigellosis, Shigella causes disease in primates, but not in other mammals. It is only naturally found in humans and apes. During...

    spp.
  • Staphylococcus aureus
    Staphylococcus aureus
    Staphylococcus aureus is a facultative anaerobic Gram-positive coccal bacterium. It is frequently found as part of the normal skin flora on the skin and nasal passages. It is estimated that 20% of the human population are long-term carriers of S. aureus. S. aureus is the most common species of...

  • Staphylococcal enteritis
    Staphylococcal enteritis
    Staphylococcal enteritis is a form of enteritis due to food poisoning caused by one of a variety of Staphylococcus bacteria. The illness is not necessarily the result of active infection, but can be the result of toxins that may have been left in the food due to improper handling prior to its...

  • Streptococcus
    Streptococcus
    Streptococcus is a genus of spherical Gram-positive bacteria belonging to the phylum Firmicutes and the lactic acid bacteria group. Cellular division occurs along a single axis in these bacteria, and thus they grow in chains or pairs, hence the name — from Greek στρεπτος streptos, meaning...

  • Vibrio cholerae
    Vibrio cholerae
    Vibrio cholerae is a Gram-negative, comma-shaped bacterium. Some strains of V. cholerae cause the disease cholera. V. cholerae is facultatively anaerobic and has a flagella at one cell pole. V...

    , including O1 and non-O1
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus
    Vibrio parahaemolyticus
    Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a curved, rod-shaped, Gram-negative bacterium found in brackish saltwater, which, when ingested, causes gastrointestinal illness in humans. V. parahaemolyticus is oxidase positive, facultatively aerobic, and does not form spores...

  • Vibrio vulnificus
    Vibrio vulnificus
    Vibrio vulnificus is a species of Gram-negative, motile, curved, rod-shaped bacteria of the Vibrio Genus. It was first reported by Hollis et al. in 1976. It was subsequently given the name Beneckea vulnifica by Reichelt et al. in 1976 , and finally Vibrio vulnificus by Farmer in 1979...

  • Yersinia enterocolitica
    Yersinia enterocolitica
    Yersinia enterocolitica is a species of gram-negative coccobacillus-shaped bacterium, belonging to the family Enterobacteriaceae. Yersinia enterocolitica infection causes the disease yersiniosis, which is a zoonotic disease occurring in humans as well as a wide array of animals such as cattle,...

    and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis
    Yersinia pseudotuberculosis
    Yersinia pseudotuberculosis is a Gram-negative bacterium that causes Pseudotuberculosis disease in animals; humans occasionally get infected zoonotically, most often through the food-borne route.-Pathogenesis:In animals, Y...



Less common bacterial agents:
  • Brucella
    Brucella
    Brucella is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria. They are small , non-motile, non-encapsulated coccobacilli, which function as facultative intracellular parasites....

    spp.
  • Corynebacterium ulcerans
    Actinobacteria
    Actinobacteria are a group of Gram-positive bacteria with high guanine and cytosine content. They can be terrestrial or aquatic. Actinobacteria is one of the dominant phyla of the bacteria....

  • Coxiella burnetii
    Q fever
    Q fever is a disease caused by infection with Coxiella burnetii, a bacterium that affects humans and other animals. This organism is uncommon but may be found in cattle, sheep, goats and other domestic mammals, including cats and dogs...

    or Q fever
  • Plesiomonas shigelloides
    Plesiomonas shigelloides
    Plesiomonas shigelloides is a species of bacteria. It is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium which has been isolated from freshwater, freshwater fish, and shellfish and from many types of animals including cattle, goats, swine, cats, dogs, monkeys, vultures, snakes, and toads.Infections from this...


Exotoxins


In addition to disease caused by direct bacterial infection, some foodborne illnesses are caused by exotoxin
Exotoxin
An exotoxin is a toxin excreted by a microorganism, like bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa. An exotoxin can cause damage to the host by destroying cells or disrupting normal cellular metabolism. They are highly potent and can cause major damage to the host...

s which are excreted
Excretion
Excretion is the process by which waste products of metabolism and other non-useful materials are eliminated from an organism. This is primarily carried out by the lungs, kidneys and skin. This is in contrast with secretion, where the substance may have specific tasks after leaving the cell...

 by the cell as the bacterium grows. Exotoxins can produce illness even when the microbes that produced them have been killed. Symptoms typically appear after 24 hours depending on the amount of toxin ingested.
  • Clostridium botulinum
    Clostridium botulinum
    Clostridium botulinum is a Gram-positive, rod-shaped bacterium that produces several toxins. The best known are its neurotoxins, subdivided in types A-G, that cause the flaccid muscular paralysis seen in botulism. It is also the main paralytic agent in botox. C. botulinum is an anaerobic...

  • Clostridium perfringens
    Clostridium perfringens
    Clostridium perfringens is a Gram-positive, rod-shaped, anaerobic, spore-forming bacterium of the genus Clostridium. C. perfringens is ever present in nature and can be found as a normal component of decaying vegetation, marine sediment, the intestinal tract of humans and other vertebrates,...

  • Staphylococcus aureus
    Staphylococcus aureus
    Staphylococcus aureus is a facultative anaerobic Gram-positive coccal bacterium. It is frequently found as part of the normal skin flora on the skin and nasal passages. It is estimated that 20% of the human population are long-term carriers of S. aureus. S. aureus is the most common species of...

  • Bacillus cereus
    Bacillus cereus
    Bacillus cereus is an endemic, soil-dwelling, Gram-positive, rod-shaped, beta hemolytic bacterium. Some strains are harmful to humans and cause foodborne illness, while other strains can be beneficial as probiotics for animals...



For example Staphylococcus aureus
Staphylococcus aureus
Staphylococcus aureus is a facultative anaerobic Gram-positive coccal bacterium. It is frequently found as part of the normal skin flora on the skin and nasal passages. It is estimated that 20% of the human population are long-term carriers of S. aureus. S. aureus is the most common species of...

produces a toxin that causes intense vomiting
Vomiting
Vomiting is the forceful expulsion of the contents of one's stomach through the mouth and sometimes the nose...

. The rare but potentially deadly disease botulism
Botulism
Botulism also known as botulinus intoxication is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by botulinum toxin which is metabolic waste produced under anaerobic conditions by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, and affecting a wide range of mammals, birds and fish...

 occurs when the anaerobic
Anaerobic organism
An anaerobic organism or anaerobe is any organism that does not require oxygen for growth. It could possibly react negatively and may even die if oxygen is present...

 bacterium Clostridium botulinum
Clostridium botulinum
Clostridium botulinum is a Gram-positive, rod-shaped bacterium that produces several toxins. The best known are its neurotoxins, subdivided in types A-G, that cause the flaccid muscular paralysis seen in botulism. It is also the main paralytic agent in botox. C. botulinum is an anaerobic...

grows in improperly canned low-acid foods and produces botulin, a powerful paralytic toxin.

Pseudoalteromonas tetraodonis, certain species of Pseudomonas
Pseudomonas
Pseudomonas is a genus of gammaproteobacteria, belonging to the family Pseudomonadaceae containing 191 validly described species.Recently, 16S rRNA sequence analysis has redefined the taxonomy of many bacterial species. As a result, the genus Pseudomonas includes strains formerly classified in the...

 and Vibrio
Vibrio
Vibrio is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria possessing a curved rod shape, several species of which can cause foodborne infection, usually associated with eating undercooked seafood. Typically found in saltwater, Vibrio are facultative anaerobes that test positive for oxidase and do not form...

, and some other bacteria, produce the lethal tetrodotoxin
Tetrodotoxin
Tetrodotoxin, also known as "tetrodox" and frequently abbreviated as TTX, sometimes colloquially referred to as "zombie powder" by those who practice Vodou, is a potent neurotoxin with no known antidote. There have been successful tests of a possible antidote in mice, but further tests must be...

, which is present in the tissues
Tissue (biology)
Tissue is a cellular organizational level intermediate between cells and a complete organism. A tissue is an ensemble of cells, not necessarily identical, but from the same origin, that together carry out a specific function. These are called tissues because of their identical functioning...

 of some living animal species rather than being a product of decomposition
Decomposition
Decomposition is the process by which organic material is broken down into simpler forms of matter. The process is essential for recycling the finite matter that occupies physical space in the biome. Bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death...

.

Mycotoxins and alimentary mycotoxicoses


The term alimentary mycotoxicoses refers to the effect of poisoning by Mycotoxins through food consumption. Mycotoxins sometimes have important effects on human and animal health. For example, an outbreak which occurred in the UK in 1960 caused the death of 100,000 turkeys which had consumed aflatoxin
Aflatoxin
Aflatoxins are naturally occurring mycotoxins that are produced by many species of Aspergillus, a fungus, the most notable ones being Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Aflatoxins are toxic and among the most carcinogenic substances known...

-contaminated peanut meal. In the USSR in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, 5,000 people died due to Alimentary Toxic Aleukia (ALA). The common foodborne Mycotoxins include:
  • Aflatoxins – originated from Aspergillus parasiticus
    Aspergillus parasiticus
    Aspergillus parasiticus is a mold known to produce aflatoxin, although strains of it that do not produce this carcinogen exist. It is sometimes found on black olives....

     and Aspergillus flavus
    Aspergillus flavus
    Aspergillus flavus is a fungus. It is a common mold in the environment, and can cause storage problems in stored grains. It can also be a human pathogen, associated with aspergillosis of the lungs and sometimes causing corneal, otomycotic, and nasoorbital infections. Many strains produce...

    . They are frequently found in tree nuts, peanuts, maize, sorghum and other oilseeds, including corn and cottonseeds. The pronounced forms of Aflatoxins are those of B1, B2, G1, and G2, amongst which Aflatoxin B1 predominantly targets the liver, which will result in necrosis
    Necrosis
    Necrosis is the premature death of cells in living tissue. Necrosis is caused by factors external to the cell or tissue, such as infection, toxins, or trauma. This is in contrast to apoptosis, which is a naturally occurring cause of cellular death...

    , cirrhosis
    Cirrhosis
    Cirrhosis is a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis, scar tissue and regenerative nodules , leading to loss of liver function...

    , and carcinoma
    Carcinoma
    Carcinoma is the medical term for the most common type of cancer occurring in humans. Put simply, a carcinoma is a cancer that begins in a tissue that lines the inner or outer surfaces of the body, and that generally arises from cells originating in the endodermal or ectodermal germ layer during...

    . In the US, the acceptable level of total aflatoxins in foods is less than 20 μg/kg, except for Aflatoxin M1 in milk, which should be less than 0.5 μg/kg. The official document can be found at FDA
    Food and Drug Administration
    The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

    's website.
  • Altertoxins – are those of Alternariol
    Alternariol
    Alternariol is a toxic metabolite of Alternaria fungi. It is an important contaminant in cereals and fruits.Alternariol exhibits antifungal and phytotoxic activity. It is reported to inhibit Cholinesterase....

     (AOH), Alternariol methyl ether (AME), Altenuene (ALT), Altertoxin-1 (ATX-1), Tenuazonic acid (TeA) and Radicinin (RAD), originated from Alternaria
    Alternaria
    Alternaria is a genus of ascomycete fungi. Alternaria species are known as major plant pathogens. They are also common allergens in humans, growing indoors and causing hay fever or hypersensitivity reactions that sometimes lead to asthma...

     spp. Some of the toxins can be present in sorghum, ragi
    Finger millet
    Eleusine coracana, commonly Finger millet , also known as African millet or Ragi is an annual plant widely grown as a cereal in the arid areas of Africa and Asia. E...

    , wheat and tomatoes. Some research has shown that the toxins can be easily cross-contaminated between grain commodities, suggesting that manufacturing and storage of grain commodities is a critical practice.
  • Citrinin
  • Citreoviridin
  • Cyclopiazonic acid
    Cyclopiazonic acid
    Cyclopiazonic acid is a toxic fungal secondary metabolite. Chemically, it is an indole tetramic acid.CPA was originally isolated from Penicillium cyclopium and subsequently from other P...

  • Cytochalasins
  • Ergot alkaloids / Ergopeptine alkaloids – Ergotamine
  • Fumonisins
    Fumonisins
    A fumonisin is a mycotoxin derived from Fusarium.More specifically, it can refer to:* Fumonisin B1* Fumonisin B2...

     – Crop corn can be easily contaminated by the fungi Fusarium moniliforme, and its Fumonisin B1
    Fumonisin B1
    Fumonisin B1 is the most prevalent member of a family of toxins, known as fumonisins, produced by several species of Fusarium molds, such as Fusarium verticillioides, which occur mainly in maize , wheat and other cereals. Fumonisin B1 contamination of maize has been reported worldwide at mg/kg levels...

     will cause Leukoencephalomalacia (LEM) in horses, Pulmonary edema syndrome (PES) in pigs, liver cancer in rats and Esophageal cancer
    Esophageal cancer
    Esophageal cancer is malignancy of the esophagus. There are various subtypes, primarily squamous cell cancer and adenocarcinoma . Squamous cell cancer arises from the cells that line the upper part of the esophagus...

     in humans. For human and animal health, both the FDA
    Food and Drug Administration
    The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

     and the EC
    European Commission
    The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

     have regulated the content levels of toxins in food and animal feed.
  • Fusaric acid
  • Fusarochromanone
  • Kojic acid
    Kojic acid
    Kojic acid is a chelation agent produced by several species of fungi, especially Aspergillus oryzae, which has the Japanese common name koji. Kojic acid is a by-product in the fermentation process of malting rice, for use in the manufacturing of sake, the Japanese rice wine...

  • Lolitrem alkaloids
  • Moniliformin
  • 3-Nitropropionic acid
  • Nivalenol
  • Ochratoxins – In Australia, The Limit of Reporting (LOR) level for Ochratoxin A
    Ochratoxin A
    Ochratoxin A, a toxin produced by Aspergillus ochraceus, Aspergillus carbonarius and Penicillium verrucosum, is one of the most abundant food-contaminating mycotoxins in the world. Human exposure occurs mainly through consumption of improperly stored food products, particularly contaminated grain...

     (OTA) analyses in 20th Australian Total Diet Survey was 1 µg/kg, whereas the EC
    European Commission
    The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

     restricts the content of OTA to 5 µg/kg in cereal commodities, 3 µg/kg in processed products and 10 µg/kg in dried vine fruits.
  • Oosporeine
  • Patulin
    Patulin
    Patulin is a mycotoxin produced by a variety of molds, in particular, Aspergillus and Penicillium. It is commonly found in rotting apples, and the amount of patulin in apple products is generally viewed as a measure of the quality of the apples used in production...

     – Currently, this toxin has been advisably regulated on fruit products. The EC
    European Commission
    The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

     and the FDA
    Food and Drug Administration
    The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

     have limited it to under 50 µg/kg for fruit juice and fruit nectar, while limits of 25 µg/kg for solid-contained fruit products and 10 µg/kg for baby foods were specified by the EC
    European Commission
    The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

    .
  • Phomopsins
  • Sporidesmin A
  • Sterigmatocystin
    Sterigmatocystin
    Sterigmatocystin is a poison of the type dermatoxin, from the fungi genus Aspergillus. It appears on crusts of cheese with mold.-Introduction:...

  • Tremorgenic mycotoxins – Five of them have been reported to be associated with molds found in fermented meats. These are Fumitremorgen B, Paxilline, Penitrem A
    Penitrem A
    Penitrem A is a fungal neurotoxin found on ryegrass. It is produced by certain species of Aspergillus, Claviceps, and Penicillium. It inhibits potassium channels in smooth muscles...

    , Verrucosidin, and Verruculogen.
  • Trichothecenes – sourced from Cephalosporium, Fusarium
    Fusarium
    Fusarium is a large genus of filamentous fungi widely distributed in soil and in association with plants. Most species are harmless saprobes, and are relatively abundant members of the soil microbial community. Some species produce mycotoxins in cereal crops that can affect human and animal health...

    , Myrothecium, Stachybotrys
    Stachybotrys
    Stachybotrys is a genus of molds, or asexually-reproducing, filamentous fungi. Closely related to the genus Memnoniella, most Stachybotrys species inhabit materials rich in cellulose. The genus has a widespread distribution, and contains about 50 species.The most infamous species, S. chartarum and S...

     and Trichoderma
    Trichoderma
    Trichoderma is a genus of fungi that is present in all soils, where they are the most prevalent culturable fungi. Many species in this genus can be characterized as opportunistic avirulent plant symbionts.-Species:...

    . The toxins are usually found in molded maize, wheat, corn, peanuts and rice, or animal feed of hay and straw. Four trichothecenes, T-2 toxin, HT-2 toxin, diacetoxyscirpenol (DAS) and deoxynivalenol (DON) have been most commonly encountered by humans and animals. The consequences of oral intake of, or dermal exposure to, the toxins will result in Alimentary toxic aleukia, neutropenia
    Neutropenia
    Neutropenia, from Latin prefix neutro- and Greek suffix -πενία , is a granulocyte disorder characterized by an abnormally low number of neutrophils, the most important type of white blood cell...

    , aplastic anemia
    Aplastic anemia
    Aplastic anemia is a condition where bone marrow does not produce sufficient new cells to replenish blood cells. The condition, per its name, involves both aplasia and anemia...

    , thrombocytopenia
    Thrombocytopenia
    Thrombocytopenia is a relative decrease of platelets in blood.A normal human platelet count ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood. These limits are determined by the 2.5th lower and upper percentile, so values outside this range do not necessarily indicate disease...

     and/or skin irritation. In 1993, the FDA
    Food and Drug Administration
    The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

     issued a document for the content limits of DON in food and animal feed at an advisory level. In 2003, US published a patent that is very promising for farmers to produce a trichothecene-resistant crop.
  • Zearalenone
    Zearalenone
    Zearalenone , also known as RAL and F-2 mycotoxin, is a potent estrogenic metabolite produced by some Gibberella species.Several Fusarium species produce toxic substances of considerable concern to livestock and poultry producers: namely, deoxynivalenol, T-2 toxin, HT-2 toxin, diacetoxyscirpenol ...

  • Zearalenols

Emerging foodborne pathogens


Many foodborne illnesses remain poorly understood. Approximately sixty percent of outbreaks are caused by unknown sources.
  • Aeromonas hydrophila
    Aeromonas hydrophila
    Aeromonas hydrophila is a heterotrophic, Gram-negative, rod shaped bacterium, mainly found in areas with a warm climate. This bacterium can also be found in fresh, salt, marine, estuarine, chlorinated, and un-chlorinated water. Aeromonas hydrophila can survive in aerobic and anaerobic...

    , Aeromonas caviae, Aeromonas sobria

Preventing bacterial food poisoning



Prevention is mainly the role of the state, through the definition of strict rules of hygiene
Hygiene
Hygiene refers to the set of practices perceived by a community to be associated with the preservation of health and healthy living. While in modern medical sciences there is a set of standards of hygiene recommended for different situations, what is considered hygienic or not can vary between...

 and a public services
Public services
Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly or by financing private provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income...

 of veterinary
Veterinary medicine
Veterinary Medicine is the branch of science that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, disorder and injury in non-human animals...

 surveying of animal products in the food chain, from farming to the transformation industry and delivery (shops and restaurant
Restaurant
A restaurant is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services...

s). This regulation includes:
  • traceability
    Traceability
    Traceability refers to the completeness of the information about every step in a process chain.The formal definition: Traceability is the ability to chronologically interrelate uniquely identifiable entities in a way that is verifiable....

    : in a final product, it must be possible to know the origin of the ingredients (originating farm, identification of the harvesting or of the animal) and where and when it was processed; the origin of the illness can thus be tracked and solved (and possibly penalized), and the final products can be removed from the sale if a problem is detected;
  • enforcement of hygiene procedures like HACCP and the "cold chain
    Cold chain
    A cold chain is a temperature-controlled supply chain. An unbroken cold chain is an uninterrupted series of storage and distribution activities which maintain a given temperature range...

    ";
  • power of control and of law enforcement of veterinarian
    Veterinarian
    A veterinary physician, colloquially called a vet, shortened from veterinarian or veterinary surgeon , is a professional who treats disease, disorder and injury in animals....

    s.


In August 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 approved Phage therapy
Phage therapy
Phage therapy is the therapeutic use of bacteriophages to treat pathogenic bacterial infections. Although extensively used and developed mainly in former Soviet Union countries circa 1920, this method of therapy is still being tested for treatment of a variety of bacterial and poly-microbial...

 which involves spraying meat with viruses that infect bacteria, and thus preventing infection. This has raised concerns, because without mandatory labelling
Mandatory labelling
Mandatory labelling or labeling is the requirement of consumer products to state their ingredients or components....

 consumers would not be aware that meat and poultry products have been treated with the spray.

At home, prevention mainly consists of good food safety
Food safety
Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards....

 practices. Many forms of bacterial poisoning can be prevented even if food is contaminated by cooking it sufficiently, and either eating it quickly or refrigerating it effectively. Many toxins, however, are not destroyed by heat treatment.

Viruses


Viral
Virus
A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea...

 infections make up perhaps one third of cases of food poisoning in developed countries. In the US, more than 50% of cases are viral and noroviruses
Norwalk virus group
Norovirus is an RNA virus that causes approximately 90% of epidemic non-bacterial outbreaks of gastroenteritis around the world, and may be responsible for 50% of all foodborne outbreaks of gastroenteritis in the US. Norovirus affects people of all ages...

 are the most common foodborne illness, causing 57% of outbreaks in 2004. Foodborne viral infection are usually of intermediate (1–3 days) incubation period
Incubation period
Incubation period is the time elapsed between exposure to a pathogenic organism, a chemical or radiation, and when symptoms and signs are first apparent...

, causing illnesses which are self-limited in otherwise healthy individuals, and are similar to the bacterial forms described above.
  • Enterovirus
    Enterovirus
    Enteroviruses are a genus of ssRNA viruses associated with several human and mammalian diseases. Serologic studies have distinguished 66 human enterovirus serotypes on the basis of antibody neutralization tests. Additional antigenic variants have been defined within several of the serotypes on the...

  • Hepatitis A
    Hepatitis A
    Hepatitis A is an acute infectious disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus , an RNA virus, usually spread the fecal-oral route; transmitted person-to-person by ingestion of contaminated food or water or through direct contact with an infectious person...

     is distinguished from other viral causes by its prolonged (2–6 week) incubation period
    Incubation period
    Incubation period is the time elapsed between exposure to a pathogenic organism, a chemical or radiation, and when symptoms and signs are first apparent...

     and its ability to spread beyond the stomach and intestines, into the liver
    Liver
    The liver is a vital organ present in vertebrates and some other animals. It has a wide range of functions, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and production of biochemicals necessary for digestion...

    . It often induces jaundice
    Jaundice
    Jaundice is a yellowish pigmentation of the skin, the conjunctival membranes over the sclerae , and other mucous membranes caused by hyperbilirubinemia . This hyperbilirubinemia subsequently causes increased levels of bilirubin in the extracellular fluid...

    , or yellowing of the skin, and rarely leads to chronic liver dysfunction. The virus has been found to cause the infection due to the consumption of fresh-cut produce which has fecal contamination.
  • Hepatitis E
    Hepatitis E
    Hepatitis E is a viral hepatitis caused by infection with a virus called hepatitis E virus . HEV is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA icosahedral virus with a 7.5 kilobase genome. HEV has a fecal-oral transmission route. It is one of five known hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D, and E...

  • Norovirus
  • Rotavirus
    Rotavirus
    Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea among infants and young children, and is one of several viruses that cause infections often called stomach flu, despite having no relation to influenza. It is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridae. By the age of five,...


Parasites


Most foodborne parasites are zoonoses
Zoonosis
A zoonosis or zoonoseis any infectious disease that can be transmitted from non-human animals to humans or from humans to non-human animals . In a study of 1415 pathogens known to affect humans, 61% were zoonotic...

.
  • Platyhelminthes:
    • Diphyllobothrium sp.
    • Nanophyetus sp.
    • Taenia saginata
      Taenia saginata
      Taenia saginata, also known as Taeniarhynchus saginata or the beef tapeworm, is a parasite of both cattle and humans, causing taeniasis in humans. Taenia saginata occurs where cattle are raised by infected humans maintaining poor hygiene, human feces are improperly disposed of, meat inspection...

    • Taenia solium
    • Fasciola hepatica
      Fasciola hepatica
      Fasciola hepatica, also known as the common liver fluke or sheep liver fluke, is a parasitic flatworm of the class Trematoda, phylum Platyhelminthes that infects the livers of various mammals, including humans. The disease caused by the fluke is called fascioliasis . F...

See also: Tapeworm and Flatworm
Flatworm
The flatworms, known in scientific literature as Platyhelminthes or Plathelminthes are a phylum of relatively simple bilaterian, unsegmented, soft-bodied invertebrate animals...

  • Nematode
    Nematode
    The nematodes or roundworms are the most diverse phylum of pseudocoelomates, and one of the most diverse of all animals. Nematode species are very difficult to distinguish; over 28,000 have been described, of which over 16,000 are parasitic. It has been estimated that the total number of nematode...

    :
    • Anisakis
      Anisakis
      Anisakis is a genus of parasitic nematodes, which have a life cycle involving fish and marine mammals. They are infective to humans and cause anisakiasis...

      sp.
    • Ascaris lumbricoides
      Ascaris lumbricoides
      Ascaris lumbricoides is the giant roundworm of humans, belonging to the phylum Nematoda. An ascarid nematode, it is responsible for the disease ascariasis in humans, and it is the largest and most common parasitic worm in humans. One-sixth of the human population is estimated to be infected by this...

    • Eustrongylides sp.
    • Trichinella spiralis
      Trichinosis
      Trichinosis, also called trichinellosis, or trichiniasis, is a parasitic disease caused by eating raw or undercooked pork or wild game infected with the larvae of a species of roundworm Trichinella spiralis, commonly called the trichina worm. There are eight Trichinella species; five are...

    • Trichuris trichiura
  • Protozoa
    Protozoa
    Protozoa are a diverse group of single-cells eukaryotic organisms, many of which are motile. Throughout history, protozoa have been defined as single-cell protists with animal-like behavior, e.g., movement...

    :
    • Acanthamoeba
      Acanthamoeba
      Acanthamoeba is a genus of amoebae, one of the most common protozoa in soil, and also frequently found in fresh water and other habitats. The cells are small, usually 15 to 35 μm in length and oval to triangular in shape when moving. The pseudopods form a clear hemispherical lobe at the anterior,...

      and other free-living amoeba
      Amoeba
      Amoeba is a genus of Protozoa.History=The amoeba was first discovered by August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof in 1757. Early naturalists referred to Amoeba as the Proteus animalcule after the Greek god Proteus, who could change his shape...

      e
    • Cryptosporidium parvum
      Cryptosporidiosis
      Cryptosporidiosis, also known as crypto, is a parasitic disease caused by Cryptosporidium, a protozoan parasite in the phylum Apicomplexa. It affects the intestines of mammals and is typically an acute short-term infection...

    • Cyclospora cayetanensis
      Cyclospora cayetanensis
      Cyclospora cayetanensis is a protozoan that causes disease in humans, and perhaps other primates. It has been linked in the United States from fecally-contaminated imported raspberries and was virtually unknown before about 1990, but has been on the rise since...

    • Entamoeba histolytica
      Entamoeba histolytica
      Entamoeba histolytica is an anaerobic parasitic protozoan, part of the genus Entamoeba. Predominantly infecting humans and other primates, E. histolytica is estimated to infect about 50 million people worldwide...

    • Giardia lamblia
      Giardia lamblia
      Giardia lamblia is a flagellated protozoan parasite that colonizes and reproduces in the small intestine, causing giardiasis. The giardia parasite attaches to the epithelium by a ventral adhesive disc, and reproduces via binary fission...

    • Sarcocystis hominis
    • Sarcocystis suihominis
    • Toxoplasma gondii
      Toxoplasma gondii
      Toxoplasma gondii is a species of parasitic protozoa in the genus Toxoplasma. The definitive host of T. gondii is the cat, but the parasite can be carried by many warm-blooded animals . Toxoplasmosis, the disease of which T...


Natural toxins


Several foods can naturally contain toxins, many of which are not produced by bacteria. Plants in particular may be toxic; animals which are naturally poisonous to eat are rare. In evolutionary terms, animals can escape being eaten by fleeing; plants can use only passive defenses such as poisons and distasteful substances, for example capsaicin
Capsaicin
Capsaicin 2CHCH=CH4CONHCH2C6H3-4--3- ) is the active component of chili peppers, which are plants belonging to the genus Capsicum. It is an irritant for mammals, including humans, and produces a sensation of burning in any tissue with which it comes into contact...

 in chili pepper
Chili pepper
Chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The term in British English and in Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia and other Asian countries is just chilli without pepper.Chili peppers originated in the Americas...

s and pungent sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

 compounds in garlic
Garlic
Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. Dating back over 6,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent...

 and onion
Onion
The onion , also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion The onion...

s. Most animal poisons are not synthesised by the animal, but acquired by eating poisonous plants to which the animal is immune, or by bacterial action.
  • Alkaloid
    Alkaloid
    Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral and even weakly acidic properties. Also some synthetic compounds of similar structure are attributed to alkaloids...

    s
  • Ciguatera poisoning
  • Grayanotoxin
    Grayanotoxin
    Grayanotoxins are a group of closely related toxins found in rhododendrons and other plants of the family Ericaceae. They can be found in honey made from their nectar and cause a very rare poisonous reaction called grayanotoxin poisoning, honey intoxication, or rhododendron poisoning...

     (honey
    Honey
    Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

     intoxication)
  • Mushroom
    Mushroom poisoning
    Mushroom poisoning refers to harmful effects from ingestion of toxic substances present in a mushroom. These symptoms can vary from slight gastrointestinal discomfort to death. The toxins present are secondary metabolites produced in specific biochemical pathways in the fungal cells...

     toxins
  • Phytohaemagglutinin
    Phytohaemagglutinin
    Phytohaemagglutinin is a lectin found in plants, especially legumes. PHA actually consists of two closely related proteins, called leucoagglutinin and PHA-E. The letters E and L indicate these proteins agglutinate Erythrocytes and Leukocytes...

     (red kidney bean poisoning; destroyed by boiling)
  • Pyrrolizidine alkaloids
  • Shellfish toxin, including paralytic shellfish poisoning
    Paralytic shellfish poisoning
    Paralytic shellfish poisoning is one of the four recognized syndromes of shellfish poisoning, which share some common features and are primarily associated with bivalve mollusks . These shellfish are filter feeders and, therefore, accumulate toxins produced by microscopic algae, such as...

    , diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, neurotoxic shellfish poisoning, amnesic shellfish poisoning
    Domoic acid
    Domoic acid , the neurotoxin that causes amnesic shellfish poisoning , also known as zombie acid, is a kainic acid analog, heterocyclic amino acid associated with certain harmful algal blooms.-Occurrence:...

     and ciguatera
    Ciguatera
    Ciguatera is a foodborne illness caused by eating certain reef fishes whose flesh is contaminated with toxins originally produced by dinoflagellates such as Gambierdiscus toxicus which lives in tropical and subtropical waters. These dinoflagellates adhere to coral, algae and seaweed, where they are...

     fish poisoning
  • Scombrotoxin
  • Tetrodotoxin
    Tetrodotoxin
    Tetrodotoxin, also known as "tetrodox" and frequently abbreviated as TTX, sometimes colloquially referred to as "zombie powder" by those who practice Vodou, is a potent neurotoxin with no known antidote. There have been successful tests of a possible antidote in mice, but further tests must be...

     (fugu fish poisoning)


Some plants contain substances which are toxic in large doses, but have therapeutic properties in appropriate dosages.
  • Foxglove contains cardiac glycosides.
  • Poisonous hemlock (conium
    Conium
    Conium is a genus of two species of highly poisonous perennial herbaceous flowering plants in the family Apiaceae, native to Europe and the Mediterranean region as Conium maculatum, and to southern Africa as Conium chaerophylloides....

    ) has medicinal uses.

"Ptomaine poisoning"


An early theory on the causes of food poisoning involved ptomaines (from Greek ptōma, "fall, fallen body, corpse"), alkaloid
Alkaloid
Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral and even weakly acidic properties. Also some synthetic compounds of similar structure are attributed to alkaloids...

s found in decaying animal and vegetable matter. While some alkaloids do cause poisoning, the discovery of bacteria left the ptomaine theory obsolete, though as recently as 1882 the ptomaine was thought of as bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

, while cadaverine
Cadaverine
Cadaverine is a foul-smelling compound produced by protein hydrolysis during putrefaction of animal tissue. Cadaverine is a toxic diamine with the formula NH25NH2, which is similar to putrescine...

 and putrescine
Putrescine
Putrescine is a foul-smelling organic chemical compound NH24NH2 that is related to cadaverine; both are produced by the breakdown of amino acids in living and dead organisms and both are toxic in large doses...

 "special alkaloids" produced by the "comma
Comma
A comma is a type of punctuation mark . The word comes from the Greek komma , which means something cut off or a short clause.Comma may also refer to:* Comma , a type of interval in music theory...

 bacillus
Bacillus
Bacillus is a genus of Gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria and a member of the division Firmicutes. Bacillus species can be obligate aerobes or facultative anaerobes, and test positive for the enzyme catalase. Ubiquitous in nature, Bacillus includes both free-living and pathogenic species...

" .

Incubation period


The delay between consumption of a contaminated food and appearance of the first symptom
Symptom
A symptom is a departure from normal function or feeling which is noticed by a patient, indicating the presence of disease or abnormality...

s of illness is called the incubation period
Incubation period
Incubation period is the time elapsed between exposure to a pathogenic organism, a chemical or radiation, and when symptoms and signs are first apparent...

. This ranges from hours to days (and rarely months or even years, such as in the case of Listeriosis or Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease), depending on the agent, and on how much was consumed. If symptoms occur within 1–6 hours after eating the food, it suggests that it is caused by a bacterial toxin or a chemical rather than live bacteria.

The long incubation period of many foodborne illnesses tends to cause sufferers to attribute their symptoms to "stomach flu".

During the incubation period, microbes pass through the stomach
Stomach
The stomach is a muscular, hollow, dilated part of the alimentary canal which functions as an important organ of the digestive tract in some animals, including vertebrates, echinoderms, insects , and molluscs. It is involved in the second phase of digestion, following mastication .The stomach is...

 into the intestine
Intestine
In human anatomy, the intestine is the segment of the alimentary canal extending from the pyloric sphincter of the stomach to the anus and, in humans and other mammals, consists of two segments, the small intestine and the large intestine...

, attach to the cells
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

 lining the intestinal walls, and begin to multiply there. Some types of microbes stay in the intestine, some produce a toxin
Toxin
A toxin is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms; man-made substances created by artificial processes are thus excluded...

 that is absorbed into the blood
Blood
Blood is a specialized bodily fluid in animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells....

stream, and some can directly invade the deeper body tissues. The symptoms produced depend on the type of microbe.

Infectious dose


The infectious dose
Infectious dose
Infectious dose is the amount of pathogen required to cause an infection in the host.Usually it varies according to the pathogenic agent and the consumer's age and overall health....

 is the amount of agent that must be consumed to give rise to symptoms of foodborne illness, and varies according to the agent and the consumer's age and overall health. In the case of Salmonella
Salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

a relatively large inoculum of 1 million to 1 billion organisms is necessary to produce symptoms in healthy human volunteers http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic515.htm, as Salmonellae are very sensitive to acid. An unusually high stomach pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

 level (low acidity) greatly reduces the number of bacteria required to cause symptoms by a factor of between 10 and 100.

Epidemiology


Every year there are an estimated 47.8 million foodborne illnesses in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 (16,000 cases for 100,000 inhabitants), 2 million in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 (3,400 cases for 100,000 inhabitants) and 750,000 in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (1,220 cases for 100,000 inhabitants).

United States


In the United States, using FoodNet data from 2000–2007, the CDCP estimated there were 47.8 million foodborne illnesses (16,000 cases for 100,000 inhabitants):
  • 127,839 were hospitalized (43 per 100,000 inhabitants);
  • 3,037 people died
    Death
    Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

     (1.0 per 100,000 inhabitants.).

Causes of foodborne illness in U. S.
Cause Annual cases Rate
(per 100,000 inhabitants)
1 Norovirus 5,461,731 cases X
2 Salmonella
Salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

1,027,561 cases X
3 Clostridium perfringens
Clostridium perfringens
Clostridium perfringens is a Gram-positive, rod-shaped, anaerobic, spore-forming bacterium of the genus Clostridium. C. perfringens is ever present in nature and can be found as a normal component of decaying vegetation, marine sediment, the intestinal tract of humans and other vertebrates,...

965,958 cases X
4 Campylobacter
Campylobacter
Campylobacter is a genus of bacteria that are Gram-negative, spiral, and microaerophilic. Motile, with either unipolar or bipolar flagella, the organisms have a characteristic spiral/corkscrew appearance and are oxidase-positive. Campylobacter jejuni is now recognized as one of the main causes...

 
845,024 cases X

Causes of death by foodborne illness in U. S.
Cause Annual deaths Rate
(per 100,000 inhabitants)
1 Salmonella
Salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

378 cases 0.126
2 Toxoplasma gondii
Toxoplasma gondii
Toxoplasma gondii is a species of parasitic protozoa in the genus Toxoplasma. The definitive host of T. gondii is the cat, but the parasite can be carried by many warm-blooded animals . Toxoplasmosis, the disease of which T...

327 cases 0.109
3 Listeria 255 cases 0.085
4 Norovirus 149 cases 0.050


France


In France, for 750,000 cases (1,210 per 100,000 inhabitants):
  • 70,000 people consulted in the emergency department of an hospital (113 per 100,000 inhabitants.);
  • 113,000 people were hospitalized (24 per 100,000 inhabitants);
  • 400 people died (0.9 per 100,000 inhabitants).

Causes of foodborne illness in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

Cause Annual cases Rate
(per 100,000 inhabitants)
1 Salmonella
Salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

~8,000 cases 13
2 Campylobacter
Campylobacter
Campylobacter is a genus of bacteria that are Gram-negative, spiral, and microaerophilic. Motile, with either unipolar or bipolar flagella, the organisms have a characteristic spiral/corkscrew appearance and are oxidase-positive. Campylobacter jejuni is now recognized as one of the main causes...

~3,000 cases 4.8
3 Parasites
incl. Toxoplasma 
~500 cases
~400 cases
0.8
0.65
4 Listeria ~300 cases 0.5
5 Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is an acute infectious disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus , an RNA virus, usually spread the fecal-oral route; transmitted person-to-person by ingestion of contaminated food or water or through direct contact with an infectious person...

 
~60 cases 0.1

Causes of death by foodborne illness in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

Cause Annual Rate
(per 100,000 inhabitants)
1 Salmonella
Salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

~300 cases 0.5
2 Listeria ~80 cases 0.13
3 Parasites ~37 cases 0.06
(95% due to toxoplasma)
4 Campylobacter
Campylobacter
Campylobacter is a genus of bacteria that are Gram-negative, spiral, and microaerophilic. Motile, with either unipolar or bipolar flagella, the organisms have a characteristic spiral/corkscrew appearance and are oxidase-positive. Campylobacter jejuni is now recognized as one of the main causes...

~15 cases 0.02
5 Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is an acute infectious disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus , an RNA virus, usually spread the fecal-oral route; transmitted person-to-person by ingestion of contaminated food or water or through direct contact with an infectious person...

 
~2 cases 0.003


Australia


In Australia, there are an estimated 5.4 million cases of food-borne illness every year, causing:
  • 18,000 hospitalizations
  • 120 deaths
  • 2.1 million lost days off work
  • 1.2 million doctor consultations
  • 300,000 prescriptions for antibiotics

Outbreaks



The vast majority of reported cases of foodborne illness occur as individual or sporadic cases. The origin of most sporadic cases is undetermined. In the United States, where people eat outside the home frequently, most outbreaks (58%) originate from commercial food facilities (2004 FoodNet data). An outbreak is defined as occurring when two or more people experience similar illness after consuming food from a common source.

Often, a combination of events contributes to an outbreak, for example, food might be left at room temperature for many hours, allowing bacteria to multiply
Multiplication
Multiplication is the mathematical operation of scaling one number by another. It is one of the four basic operations in elementary arithmetic ....

 which is compounded by inadequate cooking which results in a failure to kill the dangerously elevated bacterial levels.

Outbreaks are usually identified when those affected know each other. However, more and more, outbreaks are identified by public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

 staff from unexpected increases in laboratory results for certain strains of bacteria. Outbreak detection and investigation in the United States is primarily handled by local health jurisdictions and is inconsistent from district to district. It is estimated that 1–2% of outbreaks are detected.

Global impact


Many outbreaks of foodborne diseases that were once contained within a small community may now take place on global dimensions. Food safety
Food safety
Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards....

 authorities all over the world have acknowledged that ensuring food safety must not only be tackled at the national level but also through closer linkages among food safety authorities at the international level. This is important for exchanging routine information on food safety issues and to have rapid access to information in case of food safety emergencies."

It is difficult to estimate the global incidence of foodborne disease, but it has been reported that in the year 2000 about 2.1 million people died from diarrhoeal diseases. Many of these cases have been attributed to contamination of food and drinking water. Additionally, diarrhea
Diarrhea
Diarrhea , also spelled diarrhoea, is the condition of having three or more loose or liquid bowel movements per day. It is a common cause of death in developing countries and the second most common cause of infant deaths worldwide. The loss of fluids through diarrhea can cause dehydration and...

 is a major cause of malnutrition in infants and young children.

Even in industrialized countries, up to 30% of the population of people have been reported to suffer from foodborne diseases every year. In the U.S, around 76 million cases of foodborne diseases, which resulted in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths, are estimated to occur each year. Developing countries in particular are worst affected by foodborne illnesses due to the presence of a wide range of diseases, including those caused by parasites. Foodborne illnesses can and did inflict serious and extensive harm on society. In 1994, an outbreak of salmonellosis due to contaminated ice cream occurred in the USA, affecting an estimated 224,000 persons. In 1988, an outbreak of hepatitis A, resulting from the consumption of contaminated clams, affected some 300,000 individuals in China.

Food contamination creates an enormous social and economic strain on societies. In the U.S., diseases caused by the major pathogens alone are estimated to cost up to US $35 billion annually (1997) in medical costs and lost productivity. The re-emergence of cholera in Peru in 1991 resulted in the loss of US $500 million in fish and fishery product exports that year.

United Kingdom


In postwar Aberdeen (1964) a large scale (>400 cases) outbreak of Typhoid occurred, this was caused by contaminated corned beef
Corned beef
Corned beef is a type of salt-cured beef products present in many beef-eating cultures. The English term is used interchangeably in modernity to refer to three distinct types of cured beef:...

 which had been imported from Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 The corned beef was placed in cans and because the cooling plant had failed, cold river water from the Plate estuary
Río de la Plata
The Río de la Plata —sometimes rendered River Plate in British English and the Commonwealth, and occasionally rendered [La] Plata River in other English-speaking countries—is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and...

 was used to cool the cans. One of the cans had a defect and the meat inside was contaminated. This meat was then sliced using a meat slicer in a shop in Aberdeen, and a lack of cleaning the machinery lead to spreading the contamination to other meats cut in the slicer. These meats were then eaten by the people of Aberdeen who then became ill.

In the UK serious outbreaks of food-borne illness since the 1970s prompted key changes in UK food safety
Food safety
Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards....

 law. These included the death of 19 patients in the Stanley Royd Hospital outbreak http://briandeer.com/social/stanley-royd.htm and the bovine spongiform encephalopathy
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy , commonly known as mad-cow disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease in cattle that causes a spongy degeneration in the brain and spinal cord. BSE has a long incubation period, about 30 months to 8 years, usually affecting adult cattle at a peak age onset of...

 (BSE, mad cow disease) outbreak identified in the 1980s. The death of 17 people in the 1996 Wishaw outbreak of E. coli O157 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/deleted/library/documents-w4/pgr-00.htm was a precursor to the establishment of the Food Standards Agency
Food Standards Agency
The Food Standards Agency is a non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom. It is responsible for protecting public health in relation to food throughout the United Kingdom and is led by a board appointed to act in the public interest...

 which, according to Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 in the 1998 white paper
White paper
A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions, and are often requested and used in politics, policy, business, and technical fields. In commercial use, the term has also come to refer to...

  A Force for Change Cm 3830 "would be powerful, open and dedicated to the interests of consumers".

United States


In 1999 an estimated 5,000 deaths, 325,000 hospitalizations and 76 million illnesses were foodborne in the US.

In 2001, the Center for Science in the Public Interest
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Center for Science in the Public Interest is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit watchdog and consumer advocacy group focusing on nutritional education and awareness.-History and funding:...

 petitioned the United States Department of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture is the United States federal executive department responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food...

 to require meat packers to remove spinal cord
Spinal cord
The spinal cord is a long, thin, tubular bundle of nervous tissue and support cells that extends from the brain . The brain and spinal cord together make up the central nervous system...

s before processing cattle carcasses for human consumption, a measure designed to lessen the risk of infection by variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease or CJD is a degenerative neurological disorder that is incurable and invariably fatal. CJD is at times called a human form of mad cow disease, given that bovine spongiform encephalopathy is believed to be the cause of variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in humans.CJD...

. The petition was supported by the American Public Health Association
American Public Health Association
The American Public Health Association is Washington, D.C.-based professional organization for public health professionals in the United States. Founded in 1872 by Dr. Stephen Smith, APHA has more than 30,000 members worldwide...

, the Consumer Federation of America
Consumer Federation of America
The Consumer Federation of America is a non-profit organization founded in 1968 to advance consumer interests through research, education and advocacy....

, the Government Accountability Project
Government Accountability Project
The Government Accountability Project is a leading United States whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating of whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability...

, the National Consumers League
National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is an American consumer organization. The National Consumers League is a private, nonprofit advocacy group representing consumers on marketplace and workplace issues....

, and Safe Tables Our Priority. This was opposed by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association
National Cattlemen's Beef Association
National Cattlemen's Beef Association or NCBA, an advocacy group for beef producers in the United States, reports that it works "to increase profit opportunities for cattle and beef producers by enhancing the business climate and building consumer demand."The NCBA operates the Cattle Industry...

, the National Renderers Association, the National Meat Association
National Meat Association
National Meat Association is a non-profit, industry trade association headquartered in Oakland, California. NMA was formed by the merger of Pacific Coast Meat Association, itself formed in 1948, and Western States Meat Packers Association which had launched in 1946 in San Francisco, California...

, the Pork Producers Council, sheep raisers, milk producers, the Turkey Federation, and eight other organizations from the animal-derived food industry. This was part of a larger controversy regarding the United States' violation of World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 proscriptions to lessen the risk of infection by variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

None of the US Department of Health and Human Services targets regarding incidence of foodborne infections were reached in 2007.

Organizations


World Health Organization Food Safety Department
The WHO provides scientific advice for organizations and the public on issues concerning the safety of food. It serves as a medium linking the food safety
Food safety
Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards....

 systems in countries around the world. Food safety is currently one of WHO's top ten priorities. Food Safety is one of the major issues in our world today, and the Organization calls for more systematic and aggressive steps to be taken to significantly reduce the risk of foodborne diseases.

The Department of Food Safety, Zoonoses and Foodborne Diseases
The Department of Food Safety, Zoonoses and Foodborne Diseases is a department under the WHO. Its mission is to reduce the serious negative impact of foodborne diseases worldwide. According to the WHO website, food and waterborne diarrhoeal diseases are leading causes of illness and death in less developed countries, killing approximately 3.8 million people annually, most of whom are children.

The International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN)
This network is intended to complement and support the existing WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) which includes a Chemical Alert and Response component.

See also



  • List of foodborne illness outbreaks by country
  • 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack
    1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack
    The 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack was the food poisoning of 751 individuals in The Dalles, Oregon, United States, through the deliberate contamination of salad bars at ten local restaurants with salmonella...

  • 2006 North American E. coli outbreak
    2006 North American E. coli outbreak
    The 2006 North American E. coli outbreak was an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak from spinach. The outbreak occurred in September 2006 and its probable origin was an Angus cattle ranch that had leased land to spinach grower...

  • Alexander Litvinenko poisoning
    Alexander Litvinenko poisoning
    Alexander Litvinenko was a former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service, FSB and KGB, who escaped prosecution in Russia and received political asylum in the United Kingdom...

  • Attack rate
    Attack rate
    In epidemiology, an attack rate is the cumulative incidence of infection in a group of people observed over a period of time during an epidemic, usually in relation to foodborne illness....

  • United States Disease Control and Prevention
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a United States federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services headquartered in Druid Hills, unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, in Greater Atlanta...

  • Food allergy
    Food allergy
    A food allergy is an adverse immune response to a food protein. They are distinct from other adverse responses to food, such as food intolerance, pharmacological reactions, and toxin-mediated reactions....

  • Food hygiene

  • Food quality
    Food quality
    Food quality is the quality characteristics of food that is acceptable to consumers. This includes external factors as appearance , texture, and flavour; factors such as federal grade standards and internal .Food quality in the United States is enforced by the Food Safety Act 1990...

  • Food Microbiology
    Food microbiology
    Food microbiology is the study of the microorganisms that inhabit, create, or contaminate food. Of major importance is the study of microorganisms causing food spoilage. "Good" bacteria, however, such as probiotics, are becoming increasingly important in food science...

  • Food safety
    Food safety
    Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards....

  • Food spoilage
    Food spoilage
    Spoilage is the process in which food deteriorates to the point in which it is not edible to humans or its quality of edibility becomes reduced. Various external forces are responsible for the spoilage of food. Food that is capable of spoiling is referred to as perishable food.-Reasons:Harvested...

  • Food Testing Strips
    Food testing strips
    Food testing strips are products that help determine whether or not food contains bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. These products can typically be used on food, water, and hard surfaces, and are often designed for quick and easy home and commercial use.-Categories:Currently, there are two...

  • Gastroenteritis
    Gastroenteritis
    Gastroenteritis is marked by severe inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract involving both the stomach and small intestine resulting in acute diarrhea and vomiting. It can be transferred by contact with contaminated food and water...

  • Juice
    Juice
    Juice is the liquid that is naturally contained in fruit or vegetable tissue.Juice is prepared by mechanically squeezing or macerating fruit or vegetable flesh without the application of heat or solvents. For example, orange juice is the liquid extract of the fruit of the orange tree...

  • List of infectious diseases

  • List of poisonings
  • Mycotoxicology
    Mycotoxicology
    Mycotoxicology is the branch of mycology that focuses on analyzing and studying the toxins produced by fungus, known as Mycotoxins. As many microorganisms, fungus produce toxins as a response of biological stress in the environment, like lower nutrients or competitions for those available,...

  • Minamata disease
    Minamata disease
    ', sometimes referred to as , is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning. Symptoms include ataxia, numbness in the hands and feet, general muscle weakness, narrowing of the field of vision and damage to hearing and speech. In extreme cases, insanity, paralysis, coma, and death...

  • Munir Said Thalib
    Munir Said Thalib
    Munir Said Thalib , affectionately known simply as "Munir", was one of Indonesia's most famous human rights and anti-corruption activist...

  • Refrigerate after opening
    Refrigerate after opening
    The term refrigerate after opening is an instruction on commercial preserved food products to cool the container after it has been opened and the contents exposed to open air....

  • Risk assessment
    Risk assessment
    Risk assessment is a step in a risk management procedure. Risk assessment is the determination of quantitative or qualitative value of risk related to a concrete situation and a recognized threat...

  • Zoonotic pathogens
    Zoonosis
    A zoonosis or zoonoseis any infectious disease that can be transmitted from non-human animals to humans or from humans to non-human animals . In a study of 1415 pathogens known to affect humans, 61% were zoonotic...



Periodicals

  • International Journal of Food Microbiology, ISSN: 0168-1605, Elsevier
  • Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, ISSN: 1535-3141, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
    Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
    Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a publishing company founded by its current president, Mary Ann Liebert, in 1980. The company publishes peer-reviewed academic journals, books, and trade magazines in the areas of biotechnology, biomedical research/life sciences, clinical medicine, alternative/integrative...

  • Mycopathologia, ISSN: 1573-0832 (electronic) 0301-486X (paper), Springer

Books

  • Advances in Food Mycology (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology) (2006) by A.D. Hocking et al., ISBN 978-0387283913 (electronic) 978-0387283852 (paper), Springer
  • Foodborne Infections and Intoxications (2006) by Hans P. Riemann and Dean O. Cliver, ISBN 012588365X, Elsevier
  • Foodborne Pathogens: Microbiology And Molecular Biology (2005) by Pina M. Fratamico et al., ISBN 190445500X ISBN 978-1904455004, Caister Academic Press
  • Food Poisoning and Food Hygiene (1993) by Betty C. Hobbs, ISBN 9780340537404, Hodder Arnold

External links