Food-Borne Diseases

Food-borne diseases

are caused by consuming contaminated food or drinks. To date, more than 250 diseases caused by food contamination have been identified. The contamination can be the resultant of bacteria, virus, parasites or chemicals which can easily pollute the food. The diseases caused by food contamination can range from a simple stomach upset to much serious illnesses like vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal cramps and fever.

Prevalence of Food-Borne Diseases:

It has been estimated that around 76 million people in the US suffer from diseases caused by food contamination every year and 5000 people are estimated to die because of this.


Food contamination can occur at any stage, while harvesting, growing, handling or cooking.

  • Raw food like poultry and meat are a very common source as bacteria can thrive on raw foods easily. In case of sea food, harvesting and processing, during both the stages, contamination is possible. One of the most common sources of food contamination is the bacteria Salmonella. Eggs, tomatoes, spinach, sprouts and lettuce are easily affected by Salmonella.
  • Even cooked food when left at room temperature for more than two hours is a thriving ground for bacteria.

Bacteria, Virus and Parasites: the following bacteria and virus are some of the most common causes of food contamination-


  • Campylobacter
  • E.Coli
  • Salmonella
  • Clostridum Botulinum


  • Hepatitis A
  • Shigella
  • Cryptosporidia
  • Giardia Lamblia

Also, the calicivirus and pesticides cause sever food contamination.


Based upon the severity of the symptoms and the condition, the treatment for the diseases would vary.

  • Usually, intake of fluids is suggested. If a patient is in no condition to be fed orally, fluids can be given intravenously. Others who suffer from severe gastrointestinal problems, medical assistance would be required. Prescribed medications, diet modification and hospitalisation may also be required.
  • Prevention is better than cure. This is the case with

    food-borne diseases

    as well. Avoiding cross contamination, proper cleaning, properly refrigerating, proper cooling and heating and proper packing, all these procedures would ensure that the micro-organisms on the food are reduced and not given a chance to breed.

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