Did you ever think that preparing or handling food requires specific health and safety measures? Can you imagine the consequences of poisoning your customers, even if it is unintentional?
Food poisoning is defined as becoming ill from eating contaminated food. The contamination can come from bacteria, viruses, parasites, mold, and toxins.
Types of Bacteria & Viruses
A common bacteria causing food poisoning. Sources of salmonella are eggs, poultry, cheese, contaminated fresh vegetables and fruits, and unpasteurized milk.
A bacterium that is naturally found in our intestines. Most types of E. coli are harmless, but some, e.g. E. coli 0157:H7, can cause bloody diarrhea, kidney failure, and death. It is found in undercooked meet products, unpasteurized milk and juices, some cheeses, untreated water, and contaminated fruits and vegetables.
A bacterium found in soil and water. Therefore it can be in a variety of raw foods as well as in unpasteurized milk.
A virus that can damage the liver. There are vaccines available for some types of hepatitis but not all. It is spread via contaminated stools from an infected person.
This virus can cause the stomach flu. It is very contagious and is found in contaminated food or drinks. It is a group of viruses that can live on surfaces or be spread through contact with an infected person.
Nausea, vomiting, diarhhea, abdominal pain, fever, sore muscles, headache, dark urine, kidney failure, and sometimes death.
Parasites are organisms that feed from other living organisms. Many parasites can be transmitted by water, soil, or person-to-person contact. Some parasites are microscopic while some, like parasitic worms, are visible to the naked eye. Some parasites do not cause any harm while others can eventually cause death. Some examples include; protozoa, roundworms, and tapeworms.
Molds and Toxins
Some cases of food poisoning can caused natural toxins (mushrooms and pufferfish) or chemical toxins (pesticides and melamine). Some molds, such as that in some cheeses, are desirable and do not cause harm, others can produce toxins that cause illness.