Lecture 8 - Foodborne Hazards and Human Health
When we eat something and we get stomach pain and cramps, we usually say, “It must be
something I ate”.
There are two major forms of foodborne illnesses. First one is transmissible diseases
caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites (like worms, etc.). The other group are called
nontransmissible diseases (something that cannot be transmitted from person to person).
Some of these diseases that will be discussed in this lecture are: Shellfish-associated
toxins (something that can cause poisoning), Colour additives, Bioengineered foods,
Obesity, Diabetes and Organic Food. These are some of the major ones, but not all are
listed here. Cardiovascular diseases can also be associated with food.
Transmissible Foodborne illnesses
Types of food
We are all aware that in Canada, we have one of the safest food supplies in the world.
However, every year significant number of people get sick as a result of the contaminated
food. Some examples of food that could turn out to be the reason of poisoning include:
Meat (number one cause), milk, dairy products (cheese, in summer ice cream can be very
risky from some sources), unpasteurised fruit and vegetable juices (pasteurised fruits and
food material is not that bad for our health, as most the bacteria and contaminants are
killed during pasteurization. But, unpasteurized material can be very toxic if they are
contaminated) , raw or undercooked eggs, chicken, tuna, potato and macaroni salads,
cream filled pastries, fresh produce (like some vegetables, spinach can cause food
poisoning or salmonellosis), spices, chocolate (has milk in it), seafood. It is not only up
to the type of the food, it is also up to how we handle and process the food. For example,
food standing too long in the room temperature (maybe it needs to be in the refrigerator
right away), improper cooking, contaminated cutting boards and kitchen tools. Room
temperature is the perfect place for the bacteria to grow. If meat is contaminated and not
cooked properly it could be a source of food born illnesses. If u cut the meat on the
cutting board, never cut vegetables after that without washing the board.
Symptoms of Foodborne illness
All of these symptoms are related with your stomach. These include diarrhoea, abdominal
cramping, fever, vomiting, headache, sometimes blood in the stool. It could also be that
you could have all of these symptoms together. Usually these symptoms occur after one
or two hours of consuming the contaminated food. However, sometimes when viruses or
parasites are the cause of the contamination, then it can happen after a couple of days or
couple of weeks, but not right away. If bacteria are the cause, these symptoms will start
very quickly after you eat the contaminated food. Your symptoms will not last for very
long, usually no longer then a week. In more severe cases, the duration can be longer for
7 – 10 days. In summary, the symptoms usually last only a day or two sometimes 7- 10
days. For most people, these diseases are not life threatening if the person does not face
the complications. They can be very severe for young children as they can de-hydrate