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Food borne diseases – causes, symptoms and prevention

By Annphilip Subscribe to RSS | March 2nd 2012 | Views:

Growing fast-food culture invites a number of food borne diseases. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recorded nearly 80 million cases on food poisoning and food borne diseases last year. Food borne disease is the result of consuming food that contains disease causing agents.

Most common disease causing agents are bacteria, virus and parasites. They are commonly called as pathogens. More than hundred varieties of bacteria, virus and parasites present in the atmosphere can cause food borne diseases. Toxic substances present in the food can also cause food poisoning.

Pathogens present in the food can cause mild gastric trouble to death. We can prevent the growth of pathogens in the food by proper handling and cooking of food items. This includes proper washing cleaning of utensils and food items.

How pathogens grow in food?

Pathogens like bacteria will be present in the food item when you buy it. Pathogens are mostly found in food items such as raw meat, iced seafood and poultry. Vegetables and fruits also contain bacteria.

Food products, including safely cooked and packed items, and ready to cook and ready to eat foods, will be cross contaminated with bacteria introduced on raw vegetables and meat. This doubles the chance of bacterial infection.

In which temperatures bacteria thrive well?

Bacteria flourish well between 40° F and 140° F. To safeguard your food from pathogens, keep cold food cold and hot food hot.

If you keep your food in the refrigerator, adjust it to 40° F or below. In the freezer, it is better to adjust frost button to 0° F or below.

Always try to cook food at 165° F. For soups, steaks and roasts, you can cook at 145° F.

It’s advisable to maintain cooked food at 140° F. And it better to reheat your cooked food at 165° F.

Some of the pathogens responsible for food borne illness-

Aeromonas hydrophila –

Found – this microbe is found in fish, jelly fish, beef, pork, lamb and poultry.

Transmission – It will be transmitted through uncooked or under-cooked meat, poultry and fish.

Symptoms – Diarrhea, blood in stool.+

Diseases - Gastroenteritis, Septicemia

Bacillus cereu –

Found – this microbe is mostly found in meat, rice, potatoes and milk products

Transmission – the microbe is transmitted through birds and animals, cheese, raw or under-cooked meat.

Symptoms – fever, headache, diarrhea

Diseases- food poison

Campylobacter jejuni -

Found – this microbe will grow in the intestinal tracts of animal and birds, untreated water, raw milk and sewage waste.

Transmission – Uncooked or under-cooked meat or shell fish, consumption of raw milk, contaminated water.

Symptoms – muscle pain, headache, fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Diseases – nausea and stomach pain

Escherichia coli –

Found- Mostly found in unchlorinated water and raw milk.

Transmission- contaminated water, unpasteurized milk, juices like apple, cidar and orange, uncooked vegetables.

Symptoms- diarrhea, nausea and malaise.

Diseases - abdominal cramps and Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome . Some older people who got infected with this microbe can cause thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, or TTP.


Found – Feces of animals and birds, raw eggs.

Transmission – raw or under-cooked eggs, soil, raw milk and contaminated water.

Symptoms – stomach pain, headache and diarrhea.

Diseases- fever and nausea

Food-borne illnesses are mainly due to careless eating habits. By maintaining good food habits, we can avoid most of these infections. Always try to keep premises neat and clean. Wash utensils with soap and water. Clean vegetables and meat for two to three times before cooking. Then, cook non-vegetarian dishes properly. As prevention is better than cure, food-borne diseases can be prevented by proper cooking or processing of food. Lots of websites connected with service from providers like FiOS Internet can give information related to proper cooking process and ways to prevent contamination.

Annphilip - About Author:
Ann is a freelancer. She writes and blogs on topics related to cooking, cooking tips and healthy cooking. She also like watching cookery programs on her home television powered by FiOS Internet.

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