Food Poisoning

Food poisoning occurs when you swallow food or water that contains bacteria, parasites, viruses, or toxins made by these germs. Most cases of food poisoning are from common bacteria such as Staphylococcus or E. coli.

Causes

Food poisoning can affect one person or a group of people who all ate the same contaminated food. It more commonly occurs after eating at picnics, school cafeterias, large social functions, or restaurants.

The germs may get into the food you eat (called contamination) in different ways:

  • Meat or poultry can come into contact with bacteria from the intestines of an animal that is being processed
  • Water that is used during growing or shipping can contain animal or human waste
  • Food handling or preparation in grocery stores, restaurants, or homes

Food poisoning often occurs from eating or drinking:

  • Any food prepared by someone who does not wash their hands properly
  • Any food prepared using cooking utensils, cutting boards, and other tools that are not fully cleaned
  • Dairy products or food containing mayonnaise (such as coleslaw or potato salad) that have been out of the refrigerator too long
  • Frozen or refrigerated foods that are not stored at the proper temperature or are not reheated properly
  • Raw fish or oysters
  • Raw fruits or vegetables that have not been washed well
  • Raw vegetables or fruit juices and dairy products (look for the word “pasteurized,” which means the food has been treated to prevent contamination)
  • Undercooked meats or eggs
  • Water from a well or stream, or city or town water that has not been treated

Many types of germs may cause food poisoning, including:

  • Campylobacter enteritis
  • Cholera
  • E. coli enteritis
  • Fish poisoning
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Salmonella
  • Shigella

Infants and elderly people are at the greatest risk for food poisoning. You are also at higher risk if:

  • You have a serious medical condition, such as kidney disease or diabetes
  • You have a weakened immune system
  • You travel outside of the United States to areas where you are exposed to germs that cause food poisoning

Read more about food poisoning here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *