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Microorganisms

The term “foodborne illness” covers all illnesses that are caused by eating contaminated food and illness that’s brought on by allergic reactions to food. So the contaminants can be allergenic, biological, chemical or physical. “Food poisoning” is a specific type of foodborne illness that is connected to eating certain bacteria, such as e-coli, for example. The symptoms of food poisoning can last as little as an hour, or as long as several days. There are a few different symptoms including: Nausea, Stomach cramps or pain, Diarrhoea, Vomiting, and possibly a Fever And even though the healthiest of people can get food poisoning, there are certain groups of people who are more at risk than others because they have weaker immune systems. This includes young children, the elderly, pregnant women and unborn babies, and people who are already ill or recovering from an illness. For these groups especially, food poisoning is very dangerous and can even be fatal. There are also certain foods that are known as ‘high risk’ – meaning they are more likely to cause food poisoning because they are the ideal place for harmful bacteria to multiply. High-risk foods are usually three things – moist, rich in protein and ready to eat. For example, you need to keep a special eye on things like shellfish, pre-cooked meats such as chicken and ham, milk, eggs and dairy – and foods that contain these ingredients like soft cheese, cream and mayonnaise. High risk foods need to be handled and stored with particular care. They should also have a use-by date on the label.