Skip to main content
Medicine LibreTexts

11: Food Safety

  • Page ID
  • Look at the rates of food bourn illness in the U.S.A.  How many illnesses per year?  How many are fatal?  What are the organisms responsible for the highest number if illnesses?  What are the organisms responsible for the highest number of deaths per year?  Which foods seem most "risky"?  How do we protect ourselves best?

    • 11.1: Prelude to Food Safety
      No one is immune from consuming contaminated food but, whether you become seriously ill depends on the microorganism, the amount you have consumed, and your overall health. In addition, some groups have a higher risk than others for developing severe complications to foodborne disease. Who is most at risk? Young children, elderly people, and pregnant women all have a higher chance of becoming very sick after consuming contaminated food.
    • 11.2: The Major Types of Foodborne Illness
      Learn about the various foodborne illness Foodborne illnesses are either infectious or toxic in nature. The difference depends on the agent that causes the condition. Microbes, such as bacteria, cause food infections, while toxins, such as the kind produced by molds, cause intoxications. Different diseases manifest in different ways, so signs and symptoms can vary with the source of contamination.
    • 11.3: The Causes of Food Contamination
      Both food infections and food intoxications can create a burden on health systems, when patients require treatment and support, and on food systems, when companies must recall contaminated food or address public concerns. It all begins with the agent that causes the contamination. When a person ingests a food contaminant, it travels to the stomach and intestines. There, it can interfere with the body’s functions and make you sick.
    • 11.4: Protecting the Public Health
      Most foodborne infections go unreported and undiagnosed. However, the CDC estimates that about seventy-six million people in the United States become ill from foodborne pathogens or other agents every year. In North America, a number of government agencies work to educate the public about food infections and intoxications, prevent the spread of disease, and quell any major problems or outbreaks. They include the CDC, the FDA, and the USDA, among other organizations.
    • 11.5: Food Preservation
      Food preservation involves preventing the growth of bacteria, fungi (such as yeasts), or other micro-organisms (although some methods work by introducing benign bacteria or fungi to the food), as well as slowing the oxidation of fats that cause rancidity. Food preservation may also include processes that inhibit visual deterioration, such as the enzymatic browning reaction in apples after they are cut during food preparation.
    • 11.6: The Food Industry
      Agriculture is one of the world’s largest industries. It encompasses trillions of dollars and employs billions of people. In the United States alone, customers spent about $500 billion annually on food products at grocery stores and supermarkets. The food industry includes a complex collective of businesses that touches on everything from crop cultivation to manufacturing and processing, from marketing and advertising to distribution and shipment, to food regulation.
    • 11.7: Preparing for Disasters
      Consider the following things when putting together your emergency food supplies: Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Choose foods your family will eat. Remember any special dietary needs. Avoid foods that will make you thirsty.