Food Poisoning

Human illnesses caused by foodborne microorganisms are popularly referred to as food poisoning. The common use of a single classification is due primarily to similarities of symptoms of various food-related diseases. Apart from illness due to food allergy or food sensitivity, foodborne illness may be divided into two major classes, food infection and food intoxication. Food infection results when foods contaminated with pathogenic, invasive, food poisoning bacteria are eaten. These bacteria then proliferate in the human body and eventually cause illness. Food intoxication follows the ingestion of preformed toxic substances which accumulate during the growth of certain bacterial types in foods.

The period of time between the consumption of contaminated foods and the appearance of illness is called the incubation period. The incubation period can range anywhere from less than one hour to more than three days, depending on the causative organisms or the toxic product.

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