Food poisoning is categorized as one of the illnesses that regularly affects people in the world today. It is defined as the illness that occurs as a result of consumption of contaminated food. According to the world food statistics, food poisoning claims the lives of approximately 350,000 people annually. The World Health Organization (WHO) data brings to the attention that there is a high increase in the problem of food poisoning all over the world (The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide). Millions of people are increasingly being hospitalized with a diagnosis of food poisoning and some losing their lives on a daily basis. Food contamination can occur due to the consumption of undercooked foods, especially meat and vegetables. Unsafe food handling habits such as failure to wash hands before handling food or failure to observe cooking hygiene are equally some of the main factors that contribute to food contamination. Food poisoning has various causes. These include viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
Evidently, most food poisoning cases in hospitals all over the world are caused by salmonella, listeria, E.coli, Clostridium perfringens, campylobacter, and norovirus. Salmonella bacteria are, in most cases, found in foods that are undercooked such as milk, meat, and eggs. Their period of incubation is between 12 hours to three days. Symptoms of salmonella infections usually last between four and seven days. Campylobacter, the most common reason for food poisoning in the United Kingdom, is also found in undercooked foods such as poultry meat and unpasteurized milk. This bacterium is also found in untreated water hence making it easy for it to spread. A person who has eaten food that is contaminated with campylobacter is likely to experience symptoms of food poisoning after two to five days (The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide ).
Food poisoning in ready foods is caused by listeria. Such foods include soft cheese, meats that have been cooked and sliced, and pre-packed sandwiches. Such foods that have gone beyond their expiry dates are likely to contain listeria infection, referred to as listeriosis (The Columbia Encyclopedia). This infection may cause various complications including pregnancy loss. In most cases, the symptoms of this infection often appear within the first three days after consumption of contaminated food. E.coli, on the other hand, is bacteria that are usually found in the digestive system of animals and humans (Eley 22). In this case, food poisoning can occur after one eats undercooked beef, especially meatballs and mince as well as consuming unpasteurized milk. The incubation period for these bacteria is often from one to eight days and its symptoms often last for few weeks or days.
Food poisoning can also occur when one uses contaminated water to wash food. Shigella bacteria often thrive in such an environment causing serious illness in humans known as bacillary dysentery. Symptoms of this illness often show up within the first seven days after contaminated food consumption.
Parasites are also a major cause of food poisoning all over the world. These are organisms that often find protection and sustenance from other living things, referred to as hosts. Parasites can be transmitted via person-to-person contact, water, or soil. They range in sizes, with others being invisible to the visible ones that can be seen by the naked eye. Evidently, people who suffer from food poisoning as a result of parasites often originate from the developing countries. Most deaths and hospital admissions are caused by Toxoplasma Gondi, which results in toxoplasmosis. Other parasitic infections that are often spread through food contamination include giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, and amoebiasis (The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide). In these cases of food poisoning, symptoms often develop within the first 10 days of contaminated food consumption.
. Food should be sourced and prepared in a clean environment. Often at times, food handlers cause food poisoning by paying little attention to the bacteria, viruses, and parasites that may find habitation in unclean environments. For instance, a person who fails to wash his hands thoroughly with clean water and using soap before handling food is likely to spread bacteria not only to the food but also to the people he comes into contact with. Fruits and vegetables should also be cleaned thoroughly to get rid of any bacteria or viruses that may be in them before consumption (The Columbia Encyclopedia). Chemicals used in spraying crops can also cause food poisoning. It is, therefore, crucial that all consumers wash their fresh foods in plenty of clean running water to avoid chemical consumption.
To sum it up, food poisoning is a serious illness that may lead to hospitalization and death. Statistics from the World Health Organization reveals that more than 350,000 people die yearly as a result of food poisoning which can be caused by parasites, bacteria or viruses. Such bacteria and viruses include salmonella, listeria, E.coli, Clostridium perfringens, campylobacter, and norovirus. Parasites are such as Toxoplasma Gondi is also responsible for causing serious symptoms that may lead to hospitalization or death. People that suffer from food poisoning exhibit signs and symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, stomach ache, fever, and muscle pains (The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide).
Eley, Adrian, R. Microbial Food Poisoning. NY: Springer, 2013.
“Food Poisoning.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, Columbia University, and Paul Lagasse, Columbia University Press, 2016. Credo Reference, http://ezp.gvltec.edu:2048/login?url=http://literati.credoreference.com/content/entry/columency/food_poisoning/0?institutionId=2272. Accessed 16 Apr 2017.
“Food Poisoning.” The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide, edited by Helicon, 2016. Credo Reference, http://ezp.gvltec.edu:2048/login?url=http://literati.credoreference.com/content/entry/heliconhe/food_poisoning/0?institutionId=2272. Accessed 16 Apr 2017.