Food poisoning, sometimes called foodborne illness, is caused by consuming contaminated food or beverages. It affects approximately 4.1 million Australians each year.
The most common types of food poisoning are:
Bacteria: by far the most common cause of food poisoning, for example, E. coli, listeria and salmonella.
Viral: occurs as a result of coming in contact with someone who is already infected, sharing their food or touching a surface which has already been infected and then touching your mouth.
Toxins: the least common cause. It can be natural (such as those found in some mushrooms and pufferfish) or chemical (such as pesticides or melamine)
Read this article on some of the most common bugs that cause food poisoning.
It’s important to remember that some of these bugs can also be transferred from person-to-person, with or without symptoms, via contaminated surfaces or eating contaminated food. The symptoms can be the same, even if food is not involved.
While we tend to always blame the last thing we ate when we get sick, it could sometimes be eating contaminated food from several days or weeks ago, or in the case of listeria, months.
Food poisoning symptoms can vary depending on the source of the infection. However, you will usually experience some or all of the following symptoms:
Food can become contaminated when:
Follow these simple food safety tips to minimise your risk of food poisoning:
Check the Department of Primary Industries, Food Authority website for other tips and resources.
To prevent your stomach from getting more upset, try to avoid the following:
Ease back to your regular diet by eating simple-to-digest foods that are low in fat, such as:
If you’re showing food poisoning symptoms:
Most cases of food poisoning don’t require medical attention. It’s best to stay home, rest and drink plenty of fluids. Please consult your doctor if:
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