Food Poisoning

Health Hygiene & Sanitation

Lesson 21 : Food Hygiene

Food Poisoning

Definition: Food poisoning is an acute gastroenteritis caused by the consumption of food or drink contaminated with bacteria, their toxins or inorganic chemical substances and poisons derived from plants or animals.


  1. Bacterial and non-bacterial
  2. Bacterial: caused by intake of food contaminated with live bacteria or their toxins.
  3. Non-bacterial: caused by chemicals like arsenic, certain sea foods, fertilizers, pesticides etc.

Bacterial Food Poisoning

  1. Salmonella Food Poisoning: most common, caused by Salmonella sp. Man gets disease through contaminated animal foods
    • Reasons:
      • Increased communal feeding
      • Increased international trade in food
      • Higher incidence of Salmonellosis in animals
      • Expanded use of household use of detergents
      • Wide distribution of prepared food
    • Symptoms:
      • Acute enteritis and colitis
      • Chills, fever, nausea, vomitting
      • Profuse watery diarrhoea

    Mortality is about 1 per cent

  2. Staphylococcal Food Poisoning: Another common poisoning, caused by enterotoxins of certain strains of Staphyloccus aureus. Bacteria found on skin, nose and throat of man and animals.
  3. Symptoms: vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, blood and mucus may appear in severe cases. No fever and death.

  4. Botulism: Most serious but rare. Caused by exotoxin of Clostridium botulinum. Organism is found in soil, dust, intestinal tract of animalsand enters food as spores. Home preserved foods, canned foods, smoked or pickled fish, other low acid foods are source of the bacteria.
  5. Symptoms: dysphagia, blurring of vision, muscle weakness, quadriplegia. Frequently fatal, death due to respiratory or cardiac failure.

Last modified: Tuesday, 24 April 2012, 11:09 AM