Food poisoning is defined as any disease of an infectious or toxic nature caused by the consumption of food or drink. The term is most often used to describe the illness, usually diarrhea or vomiting caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites. Very occasionally poisoning are caused by chemicals. Most of the food poisoning incidents take place in the kitchen. The main reason is the negligence of cooks while preparing food. In truth, incidents related to food poisoning can easily be averted if some precautions are taken at the home front only. Infants, children and elderly people have a higher risk for food poisoning, as their immunity is generally lesser as compared to mature adults. You are at greatest risk if you are diabetic, have kidney disease, and a weak immune system. Some types of food poisoning can produce symptoms within a few hours of the contaminated food being eaten, whilst others may not occur for some days.
Food poisoning may be of the following two types: Non–bacterial and Bacterial. The non bacterial food poisoning is generally caused by chemicals such as arsenic or due to chemicals in sea food. There is a lot of contamination of food nowadays due to chemicals like fertilizers, pesticides etc. The Bacterial type of food poisoning is caused by the ingestion of foods contaminated by living bacteria or their toxins. There are some food poisoning signs which require immediate medical attention or may be hospitalization like stools containing blood or high fever.
One of the most common symptoms is cramps in the stomach. You might start to have nausea or vomiting tendencies. Feelings of nausea can be treated by limiting the victim’s diet to clear liquids and soups until the food poisoning event has passed. Some people might start to suffer from diarrhea for more than a couple of days. If diarrhea and vomiting continue for a long time, you could also experience weakness and fatigue. You are forced to vomit in order to remove the contaminated food items from your stomach. Though it is a good sign, it will cause dehydration later. Hence in order to sustain the fluid level in your body, you must keep drinking liquids often. It is recommended to intake glucose or oral rehydration salts. There could be signals popping up of dizziness, thirst, light-headedness.
One of the most common is E-coli, and you will find that there are many different strains out there. Some of the strains are relatively mild, but they will still require a visit to the hospital. Others are far more serious and may result in death. Most of the contamination involving E-coli comes from improper storage and preparation. Under prepared meat are common ways for E-coli to spread, as the meat can be exposed to feces during the slaughtering process. Of course, meat isn’t the only way that E-coli spread through. It could even spread through vegetables, such as lettuce. The contamination will start with bacteria being present in the animals raised for food. Meat and poultry can become contaminated during slaughter through cross-contamination from intestinal fecal matter. Similarly, fresh fruits and vegetables can be contaminated if they are washed using water contaminated with animal manure or human sewage. During food processing, contamination is also possible from infected food handlers. Lastly, poor hygiene in the home is also a factor.
Many bacteria can contaminate food. Mishandling of raw poultry and consumption of undercooked poultry are the main causes for such contamination. In order to stop cross contamination of poultry, you should keep all cutting boards clean; wash them with hot water after each use. Parasites are organisms that enter the body through the mouth when contaminated food or drink is swallowed. Such parasitic organisms can be found in foods such as raw or undercooked meats, especially pork, lamb, and in drinking untreated water. Simple precautions can reduce the risk of contamination. For instance, meat left at room temperature promotes bacterial growth and refrigeration helps to suppress it. You must refrigerate or freeze perishable foods. Harmful bacteria can reproduce rapidly if foods are not properly cooled. One should refrigerate or freeze perishable foods within
Food contamination makes the food inedible. It can cause severe illness when such contaminated food is consumed by humans. Food contamination refers to foods that are spoiled or tainted because they either contain microorganisms, such as bacteria or parasites, or toxic substances that make them unfit for consumption. Contamination can be due to three main factors – biological, chemical or due to physical contamination. Biological contamination occurs due to bacteria, parasites, viruses. Chemical contamination is mainly due to cleaners, sanitizers, additives etc. Glass or metal particles in food can cause immense harm to the human body and if such type of particles is found in human body, it is called physical contamination. Four metals, namely lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury, are of particular concern in food because of their toxicity. These may accumulate in the body and cause organ damage particularly to groups such as young children or older people.
Environmental contaminants include substances from natural sources or from industry and agriculture. Many of the naturally occurring contaminants in food are of microbiological origin and consist of harmful bacteria, bacterial toxins and fungal toxins. Chemicals contaminate foods through different routes depending on the chemical and its physical properties, its use, and the source or mechanism of contamination. The environmental contamination of food is a result of our modern, high-technology society. We produce and consume large volumes of a wide variety of substances, some of which are toxic. Environmental contaminants that can enter the food supply chain include pesticides, heavy metals, and other chemical agents.