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Fact Sheet on Food Poisoning

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Food poisoning, technically called ‘food-borne illness’, is an illness caused by consuming foods that have been contaminated with harmful micro-organisms, such as bacteria, virus or other parasites,. also called pathogens. But sometimes, contamination can result from chemicals in the food such as in poisonous mushrooms or even if they are improperly cooked.

The most common food poisoning pathogens are Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella, Bacillus cereus, and Escherichia coli. These pathogens thrive in warm and moist places where they breed and multiply through their spores.

Fact Sheet on Food Poisoning

Food poisoning has many different symptoms and these may differ from person to person. However, the initial symptoms are nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea for most types of food-borne illness.

Although food poisoning is rarely fatal, those who have suffered from it know about the unpleasant nature of the symptoms. Food-borne illness can be infectious too. For example, norovirus and salmonella are the most common infectious pathogens. And they can be fatal as well. It has been reported that salmonella causes most of the deaths followed by Toxoplasma and Listeria.

Washing hands thoroughly, maintaining a personal hygiene regime, and temperature controlled, careful storage of food products, especially meat, poultry and fish, can help reduce the risk of food-borne illness.

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