Causes of Foodborne Diseases and Microbial Detection to Ensure Food Safety

Microorganisms are known to be the leading cause of food poisoning, which includes several foodborne diseases. Examples of microorganisms that cause food poisoning are the salmonella bacteria and campylobacter. In addition, some viruses can also cause food poisoning. In addition, one gets food poisoning when one ingests any food containing bacterial toxins, usually referred to as getting intoxicated. Lastly, food poisoning can also take place when bacteria grow in someone’s guts, therefore, producing toxins. The presence of bacterial toxins is determined by conducting microbial toxin testing in a food microbiology laboratory.

Many people are infected by foodborne diseases annually, which has become an issue of great concern, especially to the World Health Organization. Food contamination leads to the death of healthy people. Some foods are known to be the leading carriers of bacterial pathogens. Foods such as eggs, poultry, and animal p[roducts usually contain different types of pathogens. Some of the common symptoms observed in poisoning patients include

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Organ failure
  • Death


Types of Bacterial Toxins found in Food

Bacterial toxins have adverse health effects on their host. They originate from proteins are can be classified as endotoxins or exotoxins. Some of the types of toxins include

  • Enterotoxins
  • Cytoskeletal altering toxin
  • Cytotoxin
  • Neurotoxins

How Does Microbial Intoxication Occur

When one eats, contamination by microorganisms comes into contact with surfaces, through the air, your hands, utensils, and by eating raw and unprocessed food products. Water is also a significant source of microbial contamination since we use water for various things, and it is a requirement for all the members of a food chain. Therefore, reducing food poisoning from these sources involves ensuring that you are keen on the water source and the methods used to handle the food you eat.

Methods of Detection

The methods used for microbial testing in food involve culturing the microorganisms in food. However, the methods used to detect microbes in food substances are very time-consuming and are very laborious. Rapid detection method has also been developed to replace the conventional way and help overcome the challenges when using traditional testing methods. The advantages of using the quick detection methods include time specificity, labor-saving, specificity, and sensitivity. These methods help to detect any microbes in food substances before they are distributed for consumption by people. the methods can be broadly classified into

  1. Nucleic based methods
  2. Biosensors based methods
  3. Immunological-based methods.


Food is a critical element in our lives. Because of this, all food products must be tested and confirmed not to contain any disease-causing AGENTS. Quality checks and safety control should be done in real-time at every critical stage during food processing. Detection of pathogens, microbial contaminants, and bacteria helps reduce food spoilage rates and ensure that the food supplied to consumers is safe. Food spoilage is usually due to food contaminants, is very wasteful, and leads to many losses. The cases of foodborne pathogens are a significant concern globally hence the need to develop control measures.

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