Foodborne illness

From ArticleWorld

A foodborne illness is caused by consuming food that is contaminated with bacteria, toxins, viruses, or parasites. Food poisoning can result when diseases are transmitted from person to person, or as a result of bacteria growth on the food itself. Improper handling, preparation and storage are common causes of food poisoning.

Massive outbreaks

While the global instances of foodborne illnesses are difficult to track. It is estimated that, in the year 2000, 2.1 million people died from diarrhoeal diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that a large number of these deaths were due to consuming contaminated food and drinking water. While most foodborne diseases are go unreported, foodborne disease outbreaks can take on massive proportions. In 1994, an outbreak of salmonellosis, due to contaminated ice cream, occurred in the USA. This outbreak affected an estimated 224,000 persons. Two serious outbreaks of E. coli, resulting in a total of thirty-six deaths in the United Kingdom, led to key changes in their food safety laws.


There are some basic routines that can be followed, in the home, to help prevent foodborne illnesses.

  • Wear clean clothes and a protective apron.
  • Wash hands before, and after, handling raw meat, poultry, and fish.
  • Keep hair tied back, or covered.
  • Keep hot foods at a temperature of 140*, or higher, and keep cold foods at a temperature below 40*.
  • Use a thermometer to ensure proper temperatures when cooking meat.
  • Keep raw and cooked meats separate, and wash cutting boards and knives thoroughly before reusing.
  • Wash all fruit, vegetables and meats, before using.
  • Do not prepare food when feeling ill.