Doyle, Michael P. Center for Food Safety, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, Griffin, Georgia.
Last reviewed:March 2020
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An acute gastrointestinal or neurologic disorder caused by bacteria (or their toxic products), viruses, or harmful chemicals in foods. In general, food poisoning (foodborne illness) is a condition resulting from the consumption of food or water contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, toxins, or chemicals. The most common forms of food poisoning are caused by pathogenic bacteria (see illustration). These bacteria may produce food poisoning by three means: (1) the bacteria infect the tissues of the individual who consumes the contaminated food; (2) the bacteria growing in a contaminated food produce a toxin that later harms the individual who consumes it; or (3) the bacteria produce toxic products in the gastrointestinal tract after the individual consumes the contaminated food. See also: Bacteria; Bacterial growth; Bacteriology; Food; Food microbiology; Food science; Foodborne disease; Gastrointestinal tract disorders; Meat food safety; Medical bacteriology; Microbial ecology; Microbiology
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