Food poisoning

Causes of Food Poisoning

  • Contamination: Food can become contaminated through contact with harmful substances and micro-organisms. Contaminants can include bacteria, viruses, moulds, toxins, and chemicals.
  • Cross-contamination: This can happen when safe food comes into contact with harmful substances or micro-organisms, often from other foods or cooking utensils.

Common Types of Food Poisoning Bacteria

  • Salmonella: This bacteria is often found in raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs and milk.
  • E. coli: Commonly found in raw or rare ground beef, contaminated raw fruit and vegetables, and unpasteurized milk and fruit juice.
  • Campylobacter: This bacteria is often present in raw or undercooked meat and poultry, unpasteurized milk and untreated water.
  • Listeria: Found in a variety of foods including soft cheeses, pre-packed sandwiches, pate and cooked sliced meats.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

  • Symptoms can vary widely but commonly include stomach cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting, and fever.
  • Symptoms can appear as early as 1 hour after eating contaminated food and as late as 10 days.

Prevention of Food Poisoning

  • Maintain high levels of personal hygiene. This includes regularly washing hands and cleaning cooking utensils.
  • Cook food thoroughly, especially meat. This will kill any bacteria present.
  • Correctly store food. Refer to product storage instructions.
  • Avoid cross-contamination. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for different food types.

Treatment of Food Poisoning

  • Rehydrate: Drink plenty of fluids to replace the lost through vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Rest: Allow your body to recover.
  • If symptoms persist, seek medical attention.