A foodborne illness is a disease transmitted to people by food. A foodborne illness outbreak is when two or more people get the same illness after eating the same food.
Cost of Foodborne Illnesses
Foodborne illnesses cost the United States billions of dollars each year. One foodborne illness outbreak can cost an operation thousands of dollars and:
- Loss of customers and sales
- Loss of reputation
- Negative media exposure
- Lowered staff morale
- Lawsuits and legal fees
- Staff missing work
- Increased insurance premiums
- Staff retraining
Populations at High Risk for Foodborne Illnesses
- Elderly people: People‟s immune system weaken with age
- Infants and preschool-age children: very young children have not built up strong immune systems
- Other Populations: people with cancer, HIV/AID, and Transplant recipients
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- Biological: Pathogens are the greatest threat to food safety. They include viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria
- Chemical: Foodservice chemicals can contaminate food if they are used incorrectly. This group includes cleaners, sanitizers, polishes, machine lubricants and toxic metals
- Physical: Foreign objects like hair, finger nail, dirt, bandages, metal staples, and jewelry
How Food Becomes Unsafe
- Time-temperature abuse: Food stayed out too long at room temperature
- Cross-contamination: Pathogens can be transferred from o0ne surface of food to another
- Poor personal hygiene: Food handlers can cause a foodborne illness if they fail to wash their hands after using the restroom, come to work sick, cough or sneeze on food and touch or scratch wound, and then touch the food.