1.3.2 Assisting with Food

As you have learned in the previous chapters, pathogens are found in every aspect of daily life and are passed via the links in the chain of infection. When handling and working with food, it is possible to spread pathogens in food items if the principles of infection control are not adhered to, thereby preventing the spread.

Canadian statistics on persons contracting food-borne illnesses show just how far-reaching the impact of food-borne illness has become. One in eight Canadians suffers from a food-borne illness each year (Government of Canada, 2016). The statistics highlight the personal losses involved and the need for continued diligence in following infection control guidelines when handling foods, in order to prevent these illnesses and diseases.

Did You Know?

According to the Canadian government, each year:

  • 30 known food-borne bacteria, parasites and viruses result in 1.6 million illnesses, 4000 hospitalizations, and 105 deaths.
  • Unknown food-borne causes result in 2.4 million illnesses, 7600 hospitalizations and 133 deaths.
    (Government of Canada, 2016)

Although there are still food-borne pathogens to be identified, microbiologists and medical researchers know that the following microorganisms found in food are commonly responsible for illness:

  • Norovirus
  • Clostridium perfringins
  • Campylobacter spp.
  • Salmonella spp.
  • Escherichia coli (E.coli)
  • Listeria monocytogenes

Symptoms of foodborne illness are usually gastrointestinal, which means centered in the stomach or intestines. Gastrointestinal symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps or vomiting. Other symptoms might include fever, joint or back aches, and fatigue. These symptoms typically persist for between one to seven days.

Key Takeaway

For more information on food-borne pathogens and their effects, please review the “Food-related illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths in Canada” infographic.

Review this video, “The effect of food safety culture in reducing food borne illnesses” (16:34). The speaker is from Canada, but the statistics are global.

Click here to download a video transcript in .docx format: Video Transcript

Practice Makes Perfect

When you have completed the video, answer these questions from information in the video.


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