Q:

What are some causes of foodborne illness?

A:

Quick Answer

Bacteria, such as E. coli, Shigella, Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella; viruses, such as hepatitis A and norovirus; and parasites, such as Giardia intestinalis and Cryptosporidium parvum are causes of foodborne illnesses, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Harmful chemicals are also possible causes.

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What are some causes of foodborne illness?
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Full Answer

E. coli is typically present in fresh produce, unpasteurized fruit juices or milk, and raw meat, while Shigella comes from the stools of infected people and tends to contaminate food when infected individuals prepare food without washing hands thoroughly, explains the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Unpasteurized milk and raw or undercooked chicken may contain Campylobacter jejuni. Salmonella usually contaminates seafood, dairy products, poultry and raw meat.

Contamination may occur while growing, harvesting, slaughtering or processing foods, notes the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Harmful bacteria can also contaminate foods during storage or shipment. Viruses tend to contaminate foods when infected people prepare food. Healthy individuals can also contract foodborne viruses from eating shellfish from contaminated water or produce grown with contaminated water.

Parasites are present in contaminated water mixed with the stools of infected people or animals, reports the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Foods become contaminated with the parasites through contact with the contaminated water.

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