Foodborne Illnesses

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Foodborne Illness

What is Foodborne Illness? According to a medical dictionary, foodborne illness is an acute gastrointestinal infection caused by consuming food contaminated with pathogenic, bacteria, toxins, viruses, prions or parasites. Such contamination was caused by improper food handling, preparation or storage of food. Contacts between food and pests, especially flies, cockroaches and rodents are a further cause of contamination of food. Foodborne illness can also be caused by adding pesticides or medicine to food or consuming or by accidentally consuming naturally poisonous substances. That is why foodborne illness can also be called food poisoning.
Health Canada estimates that about two million Canadian suffers foodborne illness per year and CDC (Center for Disease Control) estimates approximately 76 million foodborne illness cases occur in the United States per year. However, many foodborne illness cases are unreported. Some of the most common bacteria and viruses that cause foodborne illness are Salmonella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Hepatitis. In the following report, you will read some of the major foodborne illness outbreaks in Canada and United States.

According to Health Canada, the number of Canadians who has foodborne illness is estimated to be approximately two million per year. As mentioned in the introduction, many foodborne illness cases are not reported. In Canada, it is estimated that for every one case of foodborne illness that is reported, there are 350 cases that are not reported.
The ones that are reported are usually major problems. Canada had some major outbreak of foodborne illness through these many years.
One major outbreak was on March and April 1998. The major outbreak was Salmonella Enteritidis associated with the contamination of cheese in a commercial product. This happened in Newfoundland. Nearly 700 cases were reported, most of which were children that got the illness. It was found that the source of the outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis was the cheese in a prepackaged processed lunch packs. The cheese was contaminated when it was being packaged into the lunch packs. It was never found how the cheese got contaminated, but they discover that the cheese was contaminated before it arrived to the place where the products were processed and packaged. They suspect that something must have happen in Parmalat¡¦s plant, the company that provides the cheeses for the lunch pack, because it was only the cheese that got contaminated. However, they will not release any information, so the real explanation of how the cheese got contaminated will never be known.
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