Food poisoning is defined as ‘ acute gastro-entities caused by ingestion of food or drink contaminated with bacteria, their toxins or chemicals, plant and animal poisons’.

Characteristics of food poisoning:

1. History of ingestion of common food.

2. Attack of many persons at the same time.


3. Similar signs and symptoms in all persons who have taken the same food.

Types of food poisoning:

1. Non- bacterial food poisoning: It is caused by chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides or plant and sea foods.

2. Bacterial food poisoning: It is caused by food contaminated with bacteria and their toxins. The bacteria which can produce food poisoning are: i) Salmonella ii)Siaphylococcus iii) Clostridium botulin iv) Clostridium perfringens v) Bacillus cereus.


Investigation of food poisoning

1. All the people who have taken the particular food must be examined and also enquired for symptoms.

2. Samples of food must be sent for laboratory investigation.

3. Animal experimentation can be carried out by feeding rhesus monkeys with remnants of food.


4. Environment like kitchen and eating places must be examined.

Prevention and control

Food sanitation measures which include i) personal hygiene of cooks and food handlers, ii) regular examination of food handlers, hi) inspection of meat iv) Pasteurization of milk, v) health education of food handlers and cooks about cleanliness.

Protection and covering of food during processing and storage.


Refrigeration for overnight storage.

Canned foods must be discarded if there is gas formation.

Antitoxin must by given in case of Botulism.