Mandy Kloppers

Food Poisoning: Likely Causes and Steps To Take


The last thing on your mind when you’re eating is whether or not you’re opening yourself up to food poisoning or a foodborne illness. When food is contaminated it’s usually a virus, bacteria, toxin, or parasite. Every year more than 45 million Americans come down with food poisoning, and while most are able to weather the storm at home, there are some who have more serious cases and require a doctor or hospital care. Here are five of the most common foodborne illnesses that plague people.  


Norovirus is typically accompanied by diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting. It’s most often transmitted by an infected person’s fecal material getting into food. According to Urgent Care Utah, thorough hand washing is an absolute must to control the spread of this foodborne illness. Norovirus is highly contagious and can easily be spread from one person to another through proximity. The best practice to prevent this bug is to thoroughly wash your hands before preparing and handling food. If you’re not feeling well, it’s a good idea to only prepare food for yourself. 


Salmonellosis often brings on diarrhoea, stomach cramping, and fever. This infection is caused by the salmonella bacteria, which can be found in a variety of foods, including poultry, nuts, raw fruits and vegetables, and contaminated dairy products. This naughty bacteria spreads by consuming undercooked meat and cross-contamination. Cross-contamination happens when something contaminated like a knife, cutting board, or another item or surface subsequently touches another item or surface. After preparing raw products, it’s a good idea to properly sanitize all items and surfaces after using them to prepare raw products. Salmonella can spread from person to person and from live animals to humans. You can avoid salmonellosis by cooking meats and poultry to the recommended temperature, Use a food thermometer to determine the internal temperature of what you’re cooking, and always wash you hands thoroughly.  

Clostridium Perfringens 

This bacteria is usually found in poultry and meat, and the symptoms are most often diarrhoea and stomach cramps. Most often this bacteria is spread when large portions of food are cooked and kept warm for long periods of time before serving. Preventing C. perfringens is as simple as keeping the temperature of food below 41 degrees fahrenheit or above 135 degrees fahrenheit. It also helps to be aware of just how long food has been setting out a room temperature. More than four hours of exposure to room temperatures, and the food should be discarded. 


This foodborne illness is caused by the campylobacter bacteria. It’s often present in animal intestines and feces. It’s spread through untreated water and by improper hand washing after handling animal feces. Eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, and seafood are other ways to come down with campylobacteriosis. Avoid this bacteria by cooking meats to temperature, boiling untreated water, and properly cleaning fresh produce with clean water. 

Staphylococcus Aureus 

Nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping, and diarrhoea are the more common symptoms of this bacterial staph infection. It’s usually found on the skin and in the noses of people and animals. It can get into food and create toxins when people fail to properly wash their hands. This bacteria is killed during ht cooking process, so be sure to fully cook your food when preparing it. You can prevent staph infections by thoroughly washing hands before eating an preparing food.  


It’s important to note that anyone can encounter foodborne illness regardless of where and what they eat. To avoid getting food poisoning, it’s in your best interest to thoroughly wash your hands and properly cook food. If you think you may have food poisoning, stay home, drink plenty of water, and rest. Consult your physician if you have bloody diarrhoea, a fever higher than 102 degrees, or dehydration. 

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash 

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