Foodborne GI Illness

There are many different disease-causing microbes, or pathogens, that can contaminate food, so there are many different foodborne infections. Poisonous chemicals or other harmful substances can also cause foodborne disease if they are present in food. More than 250 different foodborne diseases have been described. Most of these diseases are infectious, caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses and parasites that can be foodborne. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 6 Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages.

Commonly recognized foodborne infections are:

      Botulism

      Campylobacter

      Cholera

      Cryptosporidium

      E.coli

      Giardia

      Hepatitis A

      Listeriosis

      Norovirus

      Salmonella

      Shigella

      Staph intoxications

      Vibriosis 


Foods that are most associated with foodborne illness include:

      Raw foods of animal origin, such as raw meat, poultry and seafood. Foodborne illness can occur raw meat, poultry or seafood is not thawed, prepared, cooked and stored properly.

      Eggs and egg products. Eggs should be refrigerated, cooked until yolks are firm and cook foods that contain eggs thoroughly to prevent foodborne illness.

      Raw milk and cheese or other dairy products made with raw milk. It is important to make sure that milk and dairy products have been pasteurized. 

       Fresh fruits, vegetables and juices. Fresh produce may come into contact with bacteria from many sources. Washing produce may decrease contamination. Fruit and vegetable juices must be treated to kill bacteria.    

For additional information on foodborne illness:

      A-Z Index for Foodborne Illness (CDC)

     Foodborne Outbreaks (CDC) 

     Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United States (CDC)