Foodborne Infection: Most Common Causes and How to Prevent It

Infecci贸n alimentaria: causas m谩s comunes y c贸mo prevenirla

Have you ever had a foodborne infection?

One of the main sources of disease in humans is foodborne infection, that is, most of our diseases enter through the mouth.

These originate from exposure or contact of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and protozoa with the food to be consumed.

The microorganisms of this type, using the food as a vehicle, enter our body, multiply, take control and cause the food infection.

To learn more about the concept of foodborne infection, its causes and how to prevent it, read on, information that will undoubtedly be useful.

What is foodborne infection?

The concept of foodborne infection is based on the disease that occurs in an individual due to the ingestion of live microorganisms that have come into contact with food.

The foodborne infection causes harmful effects on human health. According to the agent of origin, it has particular characteristics that differentiate it, some being stronger than others.

The agents that cause a food infection are bacteria, viruses, parasites, protozoa and fungi.

Causes of foodborne infections

There are various causes that lead to food infections, producing harmful effects that considerably affect our health, breaking the natural balance of its functioning.

Among the main causes of food infections can be mentioned:

  • Cross contamination: by transferring harmful microorganisms from one surface to another.
  • Unpasteurized food: eating food that has not undergone pasteurization processes is ideal for the proliferation of microorganisms that can affect our health.
  • Improper food handling: where cold chains, cooking times and hygienic measures are not respected when preparing food.

Symptoms of foodborne infections

The symptoms of foodborne infections are very varied and are related to the microorganism that has managed to enter and proliferate in our story.

However, in a food infection the symptoms that occur most often in our body are

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting.
  • Stomach discomfort.
  • Colic.

Most common food infections

Next, we will review the food infections that can affect us at any time and that, for the most part, occur more frequently.


Caused by a bacillus that is transmitted from human or animal feces to other people, Salmonellosis is a disease that is triggered 8 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated food.

Among the symptoms caused by this food infection are: fever, nausea, chills, headache, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

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The symptoms of this bacterial foodborne infection go away within 7 days of onset.

There are two types of salmonellas responsible for causing food infections in humans:

  1. Salmonella typhimudium.
  2. Salmonella enteritidis.

Escherichia coli

Foodborne infection from bacteria such as Escherichia coli usually occurs 2-3 days after eating the contaminated food.

These types of conditions cause abdominal pain accompanied by liquid and bloody stools.

This bacterium is present in the intestine of humans and animals, with cattle being the main reservoir.

This foodborne infection is usually transmitted by consumption of undercooked beef food.

Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium capable of affecting, among others, the intestinal tract due to the intake of staphylococcal enterotoxin.

This foodborne infection generates symptoms such as feelings of distress, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

However, this type of foodborne infection should not be dismissed as it can become severe, causing more serious health problems such as blood pressure changes and heart arrhythmia.


Foodborne infection with the listeria monocytogenes bacteria is the cause of gastroenteritis, due to the consumption of raw foods such as fresh cheese or processed foods such as sausages.

Listeria monocytogenes is a resistant bacteria in unfavorable environments that can be found in raw vegetables, fresh fish, poultry and even ice cream.

It can cause symptoms such as neck stiffness, headache, loss of balance, confusion and even seizures.

This foodborne infection is the cause of most severe illness in children, pregnant women and the elderly.


The food infection produced by Clostridium botulinum causes a disease that by action of a powerful neurotoxin causes botulism.

Cases of botulism are rare, however if not treated in time and properly they can cause irreparable losses.

In this food infection symptoms such as double vision, progressive paralysis of the respiratory system, difficulty in speaking and swallowing are the most common.

In the presence of this foodborne infection, one of the most common causes of death in patients with botulism is respiratory failure.


Campylobacteriosis is a food-borne infection caused by Campylobacter jejuni.

Among the symptoms of this food infection we have:

  • Headache.
  • Vomiting

Usually evident 2-5 days after consumption of the contaminated food.

This foodborne infection is spread from person to person through contact with the fecal matter of the infected person.

Clostridium perfringes

Clostridium perfringes is found in the environment, in the intestines of humans, wild and domestic animals.

The food infection caused by this bacterium occurs due to poor maintenance of cooked food, which increases the levels of toxicity during cooling and storage of food.

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Symptoms of this foodborne infection begin 8 to 12 hours after the food has been eaten.

In foodborne infection, symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea occur for a day or two.

Bacillus cereus

The food-borne infection produced by Bacillus cereuss is due to the production of toxins that causes two types of conditions:

  • Infection with enterotoxin-producing spores.
  • Emetic toxin poisoning.

This foodborne infection is transmitted to people through consumption of contaminated food due to inadequate hygiene in processing and storage practices.

Foodborne infection with Bacillus cereus bacteria produces symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, which usually begin within 5 hours of eating the contaminated food.

How to prevent foodborne infections?

Preventing foodborne infections is everyone鈥檚 job and reducing the effects of these harmful agents on health is our challenge.

These are some of the recommendations that will help you prevent foodborne infections:

  • Frequent washing of food processing utensils and surfaces, as well as proper hand washing before handling food and after using the toilet.
  • When shopping, keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Be sure to cook the food at an appropriate temperature.
  • Depending on the case, refrigerate or freeze perishable food to preserve it properly.
  • Safely thaw food stored in the freezer or using the microwave thaw function.
  • Avoid consumption of raw milk and unpasteurized products.

When to go to the doctor?

When presenting symptoms of some food infection it is necessary to go to the sanitary service or to ask for medical attention, mainly, when presenting serious symptoms as:

  • High fever
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Blood in the stool.
  • Signs of dehydration.
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days.

Keep the food infection out of your kitchen

If you run a restaurant, hotel kitchen, offer catering services or are a kitchen enthusiast, you don鈥t want to make any of your guests or diners sick.

We invite you to visit our online store, Monouso, where you will find the products you need to carry out your passion with the security it requires.

In our hygiene products section you will find items to disinfect your hands and keep surfaces dry by avoiding wet areas in the kitchen, ideal for the proliferation of this type of bacteria.

You can also visit our category of disposable clothing, where you will find gloves, hats, aprons, disposable gowns and any other disposable product.

We are waiting for you at our online store, where we will be happy to assist you, offering the best advice to help you keep your kitchen safe.

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