4 Most Common Causes of Food Poisoning
Common Causes of Food Poisoning by certain infectious organisms can occur at any stage, eg during the production, storage, delivery, or when preparing it. The most contaminated foods are raw foods and ready-to-eat foods.
The following are some conditions that can cause contaminated food:
- Food not cooked until cooked.
- Storing food is not in the refrigerator and instead leaving it in regular air temperature for too long.
- The existence of the risk of cross contamination.
- Eating food touched by a sick person or someone with a hand
Here are some types of bacteria that can contaminate food:
- Campylobacter. This type of bacteria is commonly found in raw or undercooked meat, milk, and untreated water. The incubation period caused by this bacterium is between 2-5 days. Symptoms usually last less than 7 days.
- Salmonella. These bacteria are often found in raw or undercooked meat, eggs, milk, and other dairy products. The incubation period due to salmonella is 12-72 hours. Symptoms last for 4-7 days.
- Escherichia coli (E. coli). This case of bacterial infection mostly occurs after eating less cooked meat, such as in minced meat and E. coli can also be found in unpasteurized milk and dirty water. The incubation period of these bacteria is 1-7 days. Symptoms last for several days to several weeks.
- Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum). These bacteria can be found in canned foods with low levels of acidity, such as asparagus, green beans, beets, and corn. In addition, these bacteria can also be found in chunks of greasy onions, peppers, tomatoes, boiled potatoes wrapped in aluminum paper, to canned fish. These bacteria cause constipation to the paralysis of the muscles of the body due to the presence of toxins against the nerves. The botulinum incubation period is 18-36 hours.
- Listeria. These bacteria can be found in ready-to-eat foods (eg packaged bread) and cheese. Pregnant women should be careful with bacterial infections due to the risk of causing miscarriage and other serious pregnancy complications. The incubation period starts from a few days to several weeks. The symptoms will be complete within three days.
- Shigella. These bacteria can appear on any food washed with dirty water. Symptoms usually appear seven days after bacteria enter the body and last about a week. These bacteria can cause dysentery.
Here are some types of parasites that can contaminate food:
- Entamoeba histolytica. This parasite can cause ameobiasis and dysentery.
- Giardia intestinalis. This parasite can cause giardiasis.
- Cryptosporidium. This parasite can cause cryptosporidiosis.
Parasites that cause food poisoning will generally cause symptoms within ten days after you eat contaminated food. If not treated immediately, symptoms can last for months.
Here are two types of viruses that can contaminate food:
- Norovirus. This virus causes vomiting and diarrhea. The incubation period is 1-2 days. Symptoms usually disappear within two days.
- Rotavirus. This virus is the cause of food poisoning that generally afflicts children through raw or fast food. Symptoms appear about 3 days after eating contaminated food and last 6-7 days.
After you eat contaminated food, there are several factors that determine the appearance and severity of symptoms, namely:
- The amount of contaminated food consumed.
- The types of infectious organisms.
- Health conditions in general.
Here are some people who have a higher risk of getting sick after eating contaminated foods, including:
People suffering from chronic diseases
Diseases such as diabetes, AIDS, liver disorders, colitis, epilepsy and undergoing chemotherapy, steroids and radiation therapy in cancer can lower a person’s immune system response.
Changes in metabolism and circulation during pregnancy will increase the risk of food poisoning. The reaction will be more serious in this period. Although rare, babies can also experience pain.
Baby and children
Risk of food poisoning will increase because at this time they do not have a growing immune system.
The immune system may not be able to respond quickly and effectively to the infecting organism when a person has entered the age of dusk.