Food infections are food borne diseases which occur due to consumption of toxic materials in food that is food toxins derived from plant sources or of animal origin or from inorganic chemicals sprayed for a food produce .Food intoxication involves intake of food which contain toxins formed by bacteria which can lead to serious intestinal diseases.
Food infections and food intoxication are the two categories of Food Poisoning. Food poisoning refers to harmful effects of consuming food contaminated by microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, moulds, fungus). When we consume contaminated food, the microorganisms already present in it enter the body, begin to grow and produce the disease. This is food infections and common diseases due to food infections are dysentery, cholera, typhoid. Consuming foods which contain toxic substances produced by microorganisms lead to good intoxication. Botulism is one example of good intoxication. The toxin produced by clostridium in food can cause death. Moulds and fungus also produce toxins in the body.
Good poisoning i.e food infections and intoxications is therefore of two types
b)Non- bacterial origin
Different bacteria are known to cause the good poisoning ,the examples are Salmonella, botulism. The contamination of food occurs at the source or by cross contamination during processing of food. It can also occur due to contamination by a carrier or decay contamination by good handler. The contaminant organisms on ingestion multiply in the intestine and give rise to sudden onset of diarrhoea or vomiting or both. Botulism is serious form of infection, the bacteria is clostridium botulinum. It can come from soil and dust, the organism enters the food as spores. The foods that are commonly affected by botulism poisoning are home preserved foods such as pickles, vegetables and home made cheese etc.
HOW TO PREVENT/CONTROL food infections and intoxications
Food hygiene and hygiene of food handlers is a must in preventing and controlling good infections as most of these spread by contamination and transfer of the disease causing organism by human hands or insects like flies, rodents etc.
Almost all disease causing organisms can be destroyed by heat. Therefore proper cooking and handling makes the food safe. Making fresh food and eating it hot is safest measure. Food should not be left in warm places so that multiplication of disease causing organisms do not occur and toxin production is prevented.Temperature below 4c is bacteriostatic i.e. bacteria do not grow at this temperature.
Public health personnel who are provided certain powers can inspect the places of public eating for hygiene,slaughter house and meat stalls for cleanliness and enforce good handlers hygiene.
People should help educate themselves about dangers of food borne diseases. ‘Ready to eat’ good foods should be avoided or the use of bare hands in food handling should be minimum and proper care should be taken in their packing and storage. Food premises should be kept free from rats, mice, flies and dustMilk and milk products should be pasteurised. A system of continuing surveillance is a necessary to avoid outbreaks of food borne diseases.