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Here Are The Most Common Causes Of Food-Borne Illnesses

Below we share the most common causes of food-borne diseases.

Here Are The Most Common Causes Of Food-Borne Illnesses

Raw or undercooked shellfish, such as oysters and clams, can be contaminated with harmful bacteria

Foodborne illnesses, also known as food poisoning or foodborne diseases, are conditions caused by consuming contaminated food or beverages. These illnesses are usually caused by pathogenic bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins produced by these microorganisms. Contamination can occur at any point during the food handling process, including production, processing, distribution, storage, or preparation.

Symptoms of foodborne illnesses can vary depending on the specific pathogen, but commonly include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, and fatigue. In some cases, the illness can be severe or even life-threatening, especially for vulnerable populations such as infants, young children, elderly individuals, and those with weakened immune systems. Continue reading as we share the most common causes of food-borne diseases.

10 Most common causes of food-borne illnesses:

1. Contaminated water or ice

Ensure that the water source and ice used in food preparation and beverages are clean and safe for consumption. Use filtered or treated water, and regularly clean and sanitise ice-making machines and storage.

2. Improper handling of raw meat and poultry

Cross-contamination occurs when juices from raw meat or poultry come into contact with ready-to-eat foods, leading to the spread of harmful bacteria. Keep raw meat and poultry separate from other foods, use separate cutting boards and utensils, and wash hands thoroughly after handling raw meat.

3. Inadequate cooking temperatures

Undercooking food, especially meat, poultry, and seafood, can leave harmful bacteria alive and make people sick. Use a food thermometer to ensure that food reaches the recommended safe internal temperature.

4. Poor personal hygiene

Failure to wash hands properly before handling food and after using the restroom can lead to the transfer of bacteria onto food. Wash hands regularly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially before handling food.

5. Lack of proper food storage

Leaving perishable foods at room temperature for extended periods allows bacteria to multiply rapidly. Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods promptly, and follow storage guidelines for different types of food.

6. Contaminated raw fruits and vegetables

Fresh produce can be contaminated with bacteria or parasites from soil, water, or improper handling during processing. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water, even if you plan to peel or cook them.

7. Improperly canned or preserved foods

Canned or preserved foods that are not properly processed or stored can become breeding grounds for harmful bacteria and toxins. Only consume commercially canned or preserved foods from reputable sources and check for any signs of bulging, leaking, or unusual odour.

8. Unpasteurised dairy products

Raw milk and unpasteurised dairy products can contain harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. Choose pasteurised dairy products, which have been heat-treated to kill bacteria.

9. Shellfish and seafood contamination

Raw or undercooked shellfish, such as oysters and clams, can be contaminated with harmful bacteria or viruses. Only consume properly cooked shellfish and seafood from reputable sources and avoid raw or undercooked shellfish.

10. Cross-contamination from kitchen surfaces

Bacteria can spread from contaminated surfaces, such as cutting boards and countertops, to food products. Clean and sanitise kitchen surfaces, cutting boards, and utensils regularly, particularly after handling raw foods.

Prevention of foodborne illnesses involves proper food safety practices, such as good hand hygiene, proper cooking and storage temperatures, avoiding cross-contamination, and purchasing food from reputable sources.

Regularly washing fruits and vegetables, cooking meat thoroughly, and keeping surfaces and utensils clean are essential practices to prevent foodborne illnesses.

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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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