Sickness that results in a variety of various discomforts that occur from the consumption of food containing organisms or pathogens in the form of bacteria, viruses or parasites. The food is typically infected because it has been improperly stored, prepared, or mishandled in some manner. Bacteria that causes illness may include Campylobacter jejuni, Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli O157:H7 (e.coli bacteria), Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella, Toxoplasma gondii, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio vulnificus, and Yersinia enterocolitica.
Viruses that can cause foodborne illness include Hepatitis A, Norwalk, and Norwalk-like viral illnesses.
The most common parasites causing foodborne illnesses include Giardia lamblia, Cyclospora cayetanenses, and Cryptosporidium parvum.
Lack of cleanliness is one of the key causes of foodborne illnesses. Washing of hands prior to preparing foods, and keeping working surfaces clean will significantly reduce any contamination of food. Other factors that are also major contributors to illness are improper cooking temperatures, improper refrigeration and storage procedures, and cross contamination of food items such as juices or residue of fresh meat contaminating other foods placed in the same area.