Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Food poisoning and food borne illnesses are common and can happen in various ways. While falling ill due to the food we consume is a rather rare occurrence; there are actually various dangers and risks that we are susceptible to, through contaminated food. Read further to know more about the 20 top dangers and risks associated with food poisoning and contaminated foods.

20 Dangers of Food Poisoning

Detailed below is further information on food contamination that can lead to various kinds of food borne illnesses. These 20 dangers of food poisoning are worth being aware of.

#1. Listeria from Raw Fruits and Different Vegetables

Generally fruits and vegetables are safe for consumption as long as they haven’t reached a stage of decay however Listeria is a common form of food poisoning which can be credited to the bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes. It can easily attach itself to fresh produce, so eating fruits or vegetables in their freshest state is not enough, but if you care to wash, scrub and dry the fruits and vegetables before consumption. Although little rare, this is one of the important 20 dangers of food poisoning.

#2. Listeria in Precooked Packaged Foods

Cooking kills the Listeria bacterium which is why people are most susceptible to such food poisoning from consumption of raw fruits and vegetables. However, as this bacterium can also get into food after cooking, it often finds its way into food processing units for hot dogs and deli meats where food is left exposed after cooking and before packing. This is another one of the 20 dangers of food poisoning. One way to avoid such food poisoning from prepackaged foods is to heat them to 165°F before consumption.

#3. Listeria through Milk and Milk Products

Listeria bacteria can also find their way into milk and fermented milk products like yogurt and specific cheeses. This too is a common of the 20 dangers of food poisoning. To avoid contracting food poisoning from milk and milk products; opt for milk, yogurt and cheese that are labeled “pasteurized”.

#4. Salmonella Through Eggs and Poultry Meat

Salmonella is the most discussed food poisoning through harmful bacteria and can affect humans through a wide range of foods. Salmonella can be contracted through consumption of eggs and poultry meat and is surely one of the 20 dangers of food poisoning. The solution for this problem is to avoid eating partially cooked eggs and poultry meat and cooking chicken and other forms of poultry meat at temperatures of 165°F.

#5. Salmonella in Raw Meat

The most widespread form of salmonella poisoning is through raw meat, making it a common danger of food poisoning. The solution here is to avoid medium and rare cooked meats; no matter how good they taste.

#6. Salmonella From Fruits and Vegetables

It is believed that salmonella infection is largely restricted to uncooked meat, eggs and poultry however it is possible to get contract a salmonella infection through fresh produce. This too is a commonest of the 20 dangers of food poisoning. Your best option for protection against salmonella from fruits and vegetables is to wash and dry fresh produce before consumption.

#7. Salmonella Through Processed Foods

Salmonella bacteria can even get into processed foods on the factory floor and one of the serious 20 dangers of food poisoning. Snacks like chips and even peanut butter have been known to be contaminated with salmonella. These foods are generally recalled after a case of salmonella is reported. Never eat recalled food as multiple batches of the same product may be contaminated with salmonella.

#8. E. Coli in Ground Beef

Ground beef is a known source for E. coli bacterium. Ground beef contaminated with E. coli is one of the 20 dangers of food poisoning and a major health risk even before cattle reach the factory floor for processing. E. coli lives in the guts of cattle and can contaminate the rest of the meat when it is ground up. The best solution here; is to thoroughly cook ground beef to avoid E. coli based food poisoning.

#9. E. coli in Raw Juices and Milk

Pasteurization of both juices and milk effectively eliminates E. coli bacteria. However one of the 20 dangers of food poisoning is the consumption of unpasteurized milk and juices which are unfortunately and wrongly being touted as healthy food options.

#10. E. coli in Fresh Produce

Fruits and vegetables especially leafy greens contaminated with E.coli too pose dangers of food poisoning. Your best is to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption. Leafy greens must be washed with added care; separating and washing each stalk of leaves individually.

#11. Botulism through Canned Foods

Botulism results in extreme symptoms such as vomiting, cramps and abdominal pain and though rare; one is susceptible to botulism through improperly canned foods especially fish, honey and cured meats. This is one of the important 20 dangers of food positioning. Botulism can be effectively avoided by avoiding eating out of cans that are leaking, dented or bulging. Expiry dates on canned foods must be referred to before consumption.

#12. C. Perfringens in Meat, Stews and Gravies

Food cooked in large quantities such as meat based stews and gravies can be contaminated with C. perfringens, adding to the 20 dangers of food poisoning. One way to avoid this is to eat immediately after cooking, warm at high temperatures if these gravies and stews are intended for later consumption or refrigerate immediately after cooling.

#13. Staph Infection through Food

Another common of the 20 dangers of food poisoning include common foods eaten as street food or bakery items. Foods like salads, sandwiches and pastries can be a source of staph infections and must be eaten while fresh.

#14. Hepatitis A through Contaminated Food

While hepatitis A is a communicable disease, it can be one of the dangers of food poisoning if you contract the disease after your food has been handled by an infected individual. This is rare but not unheard of and your best bet is to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A.

#15. Campylobacter from Undercooked Poultry

Cook poultry thoroughly to avoid campylobacter infection, which is one of the dangers of food poisoning that can result in traumatic symptoms like vomiting, cramps and extreme abdominal pain.

#16. Noroviruses or Stomach Flu

Noroviruses which cause stomach flu, caused by improper food handling and one of the 20 dangers of food poisoning. Wash hands thoroughly before handling food and eating any meal to prevent stomach flu.

#17. Vibrio Vulnificus in Raw Oysters

Vibrio Vulnificus is a bacterium that can live in the shells of oysters and other shellfish and one of the common dangers of food poisoning. Thoroughly cooked shellfish is your best bet to avoid Vibrio Vulnificus.

#18. Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning

PSP or Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning can come as a result of certain algae that find their way into shellfish and contaminate them. PSP is one of the uncommon dangers of food poisoning, as shellfish are tested for contamination before being released into the market.

#19. Scombrotoxin in Fresh Tuna

Eating fish that has started to spoil after cooking can result in Scombrotoxin which is an allergy like condition, more commonly seen in tuna. Your best bet is to consume fish immediately after cooking and refrigerate all leftovers.

#20. Ciguatera Poisoning through Fish

Fish like grouper and snapper can often be contaminated by certain algae consumption. This can lead to Ciguatera Poisoning. It has extreme symptoms like vomiting, hallucinations and headache among others, which may take a while to go away.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: May 22, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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