food poisoning

Get To Know Food Poisoning

Food safety exists to protect people from the chance of contracting food poisoning. But how can you tell the difference between a food-borne pathogen related pain or a stomach cramp? And how do you identify which particular pathogen has a hold on your stomach?

Food Poisoning: At A Glance

Food-borne pathogens can occur if food is contaminated. This can occur anywhere from the harvesting process to when your meal is being prepared. Most commonly, the food-borne pathogen is transferred by cross-contamination. This is the process where harmful organisms are transferred from one surface to another.

Normally, there are many other side effects than stomach pains. If you have food poisoning, you might also have some of the following symptoms;

  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting
  • mild fever
  • weakness
  • nausea
  • headaches

Specific Food Pathogens

The following seven pathogens listed are the most popularly contracted food-borne pathogens that affect consumers.


This is a bacteria that is a common cause of gastroenteritis (also known as ‘gastro’). It takes 2 -5 Days before it affects the host and it is normally caused by animal feces being in contact with meat surface. It can also be caused by unpasteurised milk and contaminated water.

Clostridium botulinum

If you keep your food in a warm environment for too long, it can cause this bacteria to grow in your food. It takes about 12 – 72 hours for the bacteria to take full affect on the host. It can occur if food is kept in warm temperatures.

Escherichia coli (E. coli)

This is a bacteria that is normally found in the intestines of all humans and animals. But when it is found on food, it has dire effects. Generally, it takes anywhere from 1 – 8 days before symptoms arise in the victim. E. coli can be found in beef contaminated with feces during slaughter during the production process. During preparation time, it can spread mainly by under cooked ground beef. Other sources include unpasteurised milk and apple cider, alfalfa sprouts, and contaminated water.

Hepatitis A

This is a virus that can be contracted through an infected food handler. It can take up to 28 days before symptoms take affect and can be found in raw, ready-to-eat produce and shellfish from contaminated water.


This is one fact acting pathogen. Within 9 – 48 hours of consumption, the victim can start feeling the affects. Caused by contaminated soil and water in the harvesting process, it can be found in luncheon meats, unpasteurised milk and cheeses, and unwashed raw produce.


As you can see from the name, norovirus occurs in the host’s body as a virus. It is caused by unsanitary food preparation – simple things like not washing your hands can cause norovirus.


One of the most common types of food-borne pathogen that people fall for! After 1 – 3 days, this bacteria can cause pain for up to 4 – 7 days. It’s caused by Raw or contaminated meat, poultry, milk or egg yolks and can be easily cross-contaminated.

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