Skip to main content
Library homepage
Medicine LibreTexts

17: Food Safety

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    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?

    • 17.1: 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.
    • 17.2: 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.
    • 17.3: 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.
    • 17.4: 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.
    • 17.5: The Food System
      The food system is a network of farmers and related operations, including food processing, wholesale and distribution, retail, industry technology, and marketing.  All of these components play a part in a very large system.
    • 17.6: Food Preservation
      Food preservation protects consumers from harmful or toxic food. There are different ways to preserve food. Some are ancient methods that have been practiced for generations, such as curing, smoking, pickling, salting, fermenting, canning, and preserving fruit in the form of jam. Others include the use of modern techniques and technology, including drying, vacuum packing, pasteurization, and freezing and refrigeration.
    • 17.7: Food Processing
      Food processing includes the methods and techniques used to transform raw ingredients into packaged food. Workers in this industry use harvested crops or slaughtered and butchered livestock to create products that are marketed to the public. There are different ways in which food can be processed, from a one-off product, such as a wedding cake, to a mass-produced product, such as a line of cupcakes packaged and sold in stores.
    • 17.8: The Effect of New Technologies
      New technology has had a tremendous effect on the food we eat and the customs and culture related to food consumption. For example, microwaves are used to reduce cooking time or to heat up leftover food. Refrigerators and freezers allow produce to travel great distances and last longer. On the extreme end of making food last longer, there is special food for astronauts that is appropriate for consumption in space.
    • 17.9: Efforts on the Consumer Level - What You Can Do
      Consumers can also take steps to prevent foodborne illness and protect their health. Although you can often detect when mold is present, you can’t see, smell, or taste bacteria or other agents of foodborne disease. Therefore, it is crucial to take measures to protect yourself from disease. The four most important steps for handling, preparing, and serving food are: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

    This page titled 17: Food Safety is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by The University of Hawaiʻi via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.