Causes of Food poisoning


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Cause details for Food poisoning: Harmful bacteria are the most common causes of foodborne illnesses. Some bacteria may be present on foods when you purchase them. Raw foods are not sterile. Raw meat and poultry may become contaminated during slaughter. Seafood may become contaminated during harvest or through processing. One in 20,000 eggs may be contaminated with Salmonella inside the egg shell. Produce such as lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, and melons can become contaminated with Salmonella, Shigella, or Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7. Contamination can occur during growing, harvesting, processing, storing, shipping, or final preparation. Sources of contamination are varied; however, these items are grown in the soil and therefore may become contaminated during growth or through processing and distribution. Contamination may also occur during food preparation in the restaurant or in the person's kitchen.

When food is cooked and left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature, bacteria can multiply quickly. Most bacteria grow undetected because they do not produce an "off" odor or change the color or texture of the food. Freezing food slows or stops bacteria's growth but does not destroy the bacteria. The microbes can become reactivated when the food is thawed. Refrigeration may slow the growth of some bacteria, but thorough cooking is needed to destroy the bacteria. 1

Food poisoning as a complication: Other conditions that might have Food poisoning as a complication might be potential underlying causes of Food poisoning. The list of conditions listing Food poisoning as a complication in our database includes:

Related information for causes of Food poisoning: Further relevant information on causes of Food poisoning may be found in the risk factors for Food poisoning and underlying causes of Food poisoning.

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Bacteria and Foodborne Illness: NIDDK

Last revision: May 27, 2003

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