Food poisoning is caused by contaminated food. So what causes food to be contaminated?
- other poisons
Bacteria are small living organisms, too small to see with the naked eye. They multiply like crazy on food that’s not prepared or stored properly. But these little beasts, bacteria, are by far the most common cause of food poisoning in Britain today.
Viruses are even tinier than bacteria and can only be seen using an electron microscope. They grow only in living tissue and the part they play in food poisoning is not yet fully understood. However, they are implicated in food-related illnesses such as Hepatitis A.
Other poisons can enter the food preparation chain such as pesticides, toxic metals and even poisonous foods like toadstools, berries, and other poisonous plants. Shellfish can also be toxic if, for example, they accumulate toxins from algae blooms on the sea in certain weathers.
You might also want to consider allergies. These can cause symptoms similar to food poisoning. In this case the food isn’t contaminated but the person has an adverse reaction to the non-contaminated food because of a sensitivity to that particular food. Nuts are a case in point, and one which seems to be fairly common these days.
This is Chapter One, Part Three in a series of articles broadly similar to the course offered by the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health for its Food Hygiene Certificate.
Part Four: Food poisoning Top Nine
Return to the start of Chapter One