Food Contamination Caused By Microorganisms

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Food contamination
Food can become unsafe to eat through chemical, physical and microbiological hazards.
• Physical hazards are caused by foreign matter which is not intended to be part of food and is capable of causing injury.
• Chemical hazards include naturally occurring toxins (such as alkaloids in potatoes), food contaminants (such as pesticides and fertilisers) and food additives (such as sodium propionate in bread).
• The majority of food borne illness is caused by microorganisms. Potential sources of microorganisms in food include animal feeds, soil and water, air and dust, and food handlers.
For the purpose of this paper I will solely focus on food contamination caused by microorganisms.
Health impacts from contaminated food
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Food poisoning can be life-threatening for unborn babies, young children, older people and people with conditions that weaken their immune systems. Some bacteria can also cause other symptoms, for example, Listeria bacteria may cause miscarriage or other serious illness in susceptible people (VicHealth, 2015). The illness usually lasts from less than 24 hours to several days depending on the cause. Occasional severe cases last longer and may require hospitalisation.
Causes of food poisoning
Food poisoning bacteria are often naturally occurring in food and can multiply quickly under the right conditions. Bacteria are everywhere – in the soil, on animals, on people and on the things people touch and use – but they are mostly harmless. However, some bacteria cause food borne illness, and it is possible for foods, such as meat or vegetables, to contain food poisoning bacteria from the start, or to be contaminated at a later stage. The four most common causes of food poisoning are:
• Poor storage of the food
• Inadequate cooking or reheating of the food
• Cross contamination
• Infected food handlers
Cross contamination
One of the biggest causes of food contamination is cross contamination. Cross contamination occurs when bacteria and viruses are transferred from a contaminated surface to one that is not contaminated. The bacteria and viruses can come from people, work surfaces and equipment and other foods. It is therefore extremely important to take
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