Food Safety


Overview: Food Borne Illness

Organisms Causing Food Borne Illness



Campylobacter jejuni Found on poultry, meat, and lamb
Salmonella Found in raw meats, poultry, eggs, and fish; Multiplies at room temperature; causes Salmonellosis; number one pathogen that causes illness, hospitalization, and even deaths in the U.S.
Shigella Transmitted via fecal-oral route; causes Shigellosis
Escherichia coli 0157:H7                
Found in ground beef, fruits, and  vegetables
Clostridium perfringens Found throughout environment; multiplies in anaerobic conditions
Clostridium botulinum Found throughout the environment; produces toxin; reproduces in anaerobic environment; causes Botulinism
Listeria monocytogenes Found in unpasteurized milk and products made from unpasteurized milk; resists acid, heat, salt, nitrate, and refrigeration
Staphylococcus aureus Found on skin and nasal pasages; can produce toxin
Yersinia enterocolitica Found throughout environment; found in raw vegetables, meats, water, and unpasteurized milk
Vibrio vulnificus
Found in raw seafood
Vibrio parahaemolyticus Found in brackish saltwater; high concentrations in oysters
Vibrio cholerae Human carriers and found in contaminated waters; causes Cholera
Other bacteria...
Leptospia, Brucella, Cronobacter, and Giardia



Noroviruses (e.g., Norwalk virus, Desert Shield virus, and Southampton virus)
Found in foods from contaminated water and soil; Shellfish and salad ingredients; number one viral agent causing foodborne illness
Hepatitis A Shellfish (clams, oysters, and mussels) from polluted waters
Spread by fecal-oral route; very common in small children


Trichinella spiralis Nematode found in pork and wild game; causes tricinellosis; also called "pork worm"; resides in intestinal epithelium
Anisakis simplex
Nematode found in raw fish (e.g., salmon and sardines); causes anisakiasis
Taenia solium  (Tapeworm) Cestodes found in raw beef, pork, and fish; causes cysticercosis (larval) and taeniasis (adult form)
Cyclospora cayetanesis Protozoan found in fecal contaminated water; first isolated from contaminated from imported raspberries
Cryptosporidium Protozoan found in contaminated drinking water; resistant to chlorination treatment
Toxoplasma gondii Protozoan found in raw meat, contaminated fruits and vegetables, and in cat feces; causes toxoplasmosis


Other Organisms and Agents 
Examples: Molds (produce mycotoxins) and Ciguatera (in tropical fish)
Prions Proteins that can cause infection (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) called mad cow disease


Food Preservation

Preventing Food Bourne Illness


World Health Organization Rules

  • Choose foods processed for safety

  • Cook food thoroughly

  • Eat cooked foods immediately

  • Store cooked foods immediately

  • Reheat cooked foods thoroughly      

  • Avoid contact between raw and cooked foods

  • Wash hands repeatedly

  • Keep all kitchen surfaces meticulously clean

  • Protect foods from insects, rodents, and other animals

  • Use pure water

USDA Rules

  • Purchasing food

    • Frozen food and perishable food picked out last

    • Separate foods accordingly into plastic bags

    • Purchase pasteurized milk and cheeses only

    • Avoid damaged containers and food

  • Preparing food

    • Thoroughly wash hands, countertops, kitchens utensils

    • Thaw frozen foods in refrigerator 1-3 days, under cold running water, or in microwave oven

    • Avoid sneezing over foods

    • Carefully wash fruits and vegetables

    • Carefully remove moldy portions of food or “when in doubt throw the food out”

    • Use refrigerated ground meat within 1-2 day of purchase and frozen meat 3-4 months

  • Cooking food

    •  Beef, fish and pork cooked at temps of 160 degrees F (71 degrees C)

    • Poultry at temps 180 degrees F (82 degrees C)

    • Cook stuffing separate from poultry

    • Once food is cooked consume it right away or store it at 40 degrees F (4 degrees C) within 2 hours

    • Serve meat, poultry, and fish on a clean plate – not the plate that they were prepared on

  • Storing and reheating food

    • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold

    • Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees F (74 degrees C)

    • Store peeled or cut produce in refrigerator

    • Make sure refrigerator stays below 40 degrees F (4 degrees C)

Food Additives

Naturally Occurring Substances in Food Causing Illness

Environmental Contaminants in Foods