This site is a resource for anyone interested in the cause and prevention of
foodborne illness. It provides basic information about the bacteria, parasites and
viruses that can cause foodborne illness. It gives factual information on current
food safety issues. Also, it contains links to many government, university and
industry web pages. Finally, I have included some "real life" case histories of
foodborne illness. Through the misdeeds of others, we can learn how food safety
failures occur and how to prevent them from happening again.
What is Foodborne Illness?
Foodborne illness, sometimes wrongly called "food poisoning," is caused from
eating food that is contaminated with certain disease causing bacteria, viruses,
parasites or toxins produced by microorganisms. To some, foodborne illness is
also caused by eating foods contaminated with poisonous chemicals, such as
heavy metals or pesticides. Also, some consider food allergies a form of
foodborne illness. However, the vast majority of foodborne illness is caused by
bacteria, viruses and parasites. If you would like to know more about food safety
and pesticides, see the International Food Information Council's Pesticide and
Food Safety Page. For more information about food allergies, see the
International Food Information Council's "Understanding Food Allergy" Page.
Read a nice article on the history of food preservation and safety, "Food Safety
Through the Ages" by Dr. Bill Grierson. Also, read Dr. Mike Foster's
"Historical Overview of Key Issues in Food Safety." Dr. Foster is a father figure
to many food microbiologists working today. His perspective on why we are
faced with more challenging food safety issues today is worth thinking about.