Sickness from contaminated food is one of the most prevalent forms of infection. In fact, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, around 4 million Canadians suffer from a form of food poisoning each year. What’s more, 240 deaths per year are food-related. Food contamination is a result of the spread of bacteria and harmful pathogens, often from poor food handling practices.
While earning your diploma in Food Safety and Technology from the Academy of Applied Sciences, you’ll have the opportunity to take “Food Microbiology,” a course which focuses on food infection, sanitation and the characteristics of various food pathogens. Below, get a head start on your training by learning more about four of the most common foodborne pathogens around today.
1. Salmonella Is Commonly Found After Food Safety Training
Rather than referring to a single bacteria, salmonella is the term used to describe the group of bacteria that cause salmonellosis, an infection. When hospitalizations and death happen from food contamination, the cause is most commonly salmonella. Its sources include:
- Raw or undercooked eggs
- Contaminated raw produce
- Raw or undercooked poultry and meats
- Unpasteurized dairy products
During your food safety program, you’ll learn that salmonella can be prevented by cooking foods thoroughly, washing produce properly, and frequent hand washing. Those who are immuno-compromised, pregnant or elderly, should avoid unpasteurized products or rare meats completely.
2. Campylobacter Is Associated With Raw Meat
Campylobacter bacteria are known to cause an infection called campylobacteriosis, which can last about a week and may spread to the bloodstream in more serious cases. Similar to the ingestion of most foodborne pathogens, campylobacter can be found in:
- Contaminated water or food
- Contact with pets and farm animals
- Raw vegetables and fruits
- Undercooked or raw meat, most commonly poultry
- Unpasteurized dairy products
By following food safety principles such as handwashing, cleaning areas of food preparation, and cooking meats thoroughly, the spread of this bacteria can be reduced.
3. Listeriosis Affects Those With Weakened Immune Systems
After food safety training, you may also encounter Listeriosis or the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria is an infection which manifests as a fever and muscle aches and typically spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract to infect other parts of the body. It’s typically found in:
- Ready-to-eat foods including deli meats
- Raw sprouts
- Raw or undercooked seafood, meat and poultry
- Dairy products
Primarily affecting the elderly, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems, listeria can have grave or life-threatening consequences for people in these groups.
4. Norovirus Is a Leading Cause of Food Poisoning
Norovirus, presenting in infected people with symptoms similar to the stomach flu, is a highly contagious virus. Despite its prevalence, there’s no vaccine or antibiotic for norovirus. It’s found in:
- Raw fruit and vegetables
- Ready to eat foods prepared by infected persons
Frequent hand and surface washing can work to prevent norovirus.
Ready to earn your food technology diploma?
Contact AAPS for more information!