Food Contamination: Causes, Effects, and Prevention

Food Contamination: Causes, Effects, and Prevention

Food contamination is one of the many problems facing food service companies today. Many factors are responsible for contamination in the food service. Practicing the food sanitation rules has been known as the best way to prevent contamination in the food service.

In this article, we shall discuss various causes of food contamination in the food service and how to prevent them to avoid foodborne illness outbreaks.

Ranging from Salmonella bacteria, E. Coli, and Listeria, food spoilage bacteria can cause foodborne illnesses that can result in vomiting, headache, diarrhea, and stomach aches amongst many others.

Food Contamination: Causes, Effects, and Prevention

The major causes of contamination in the food service

The carriers of contamination are those things that food can be contaminated with them. They are known as food contaminants in the food service.

Below are some of the major causes of contamination in the food service.

1. Food handlers:

Food handlers come first on the list because humans are closer to food than other contaminants. It is easier for humans to contaminate food than any other food contaminants.

Food handlers can contaminate food by simply touching a piece of food with a dirty hand. To avoid food contamination, food handlers must wash their hands before touching prepared food.

2. Parasite:

Parasites are food spoilage organisms. Parasites can be found in meat, seafood, vegetables, and fruits. Uncooked food is more exposed to parasites than any other food spoilage organism.

People can become sick if they eat food that has been contaminated by a parasite. Foods contaminated by parasites can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea when eaten.

Washing hands as often as possible and cooking food to the right temperature are the best-known ways to prevent parasites.

3. Bacteria:

Just like a parasite, bacteria is one of the food contaminants organisms that spoil food when it gets access to the food. The widely known bacteria that spoil food is known as Salmonella.

The presence of bacteria in a portion of food will make such food unsafe for consumption and if such food is eaten either by mistake or intentionally, it can cause foodborne illness.

One thing about bacteria in food service is that; there are ways to identify spoilage bacteria in the food and this will help to know when food is spoilt and needs to be discarded.

4. Chemicals:

Some chemicals used in the food service are not good for consumption. Even though some of these chemicals help to deter pests in food service, they should not get into the food to avoid contamination.

Other carriers of contamination in the food service include;

• Pesticide,
• Microbes,
• Cooking utensils,
• Fungi,
• Radiation, and
• Herbicide.

Implications of Food Contaminants in the food service:

The following are the major implications of the presence of food contaminants in the food service.

• It can lead to foodborne illness outbreaks.

• It puts the consumer's health at risk.

• It spoils food and may lead to loss

• It makes food unsafe for consumption.

• It can damage an organization's reputation.

How to prevent food contamination in food service

Food contamination can be prevented in the food service and at home by simply following the food sanitation rules.

Some of the food sanitation rules needed to be followed to prevent contamination include but are not limited to:

• Washing of hands as often as possible especially after visiting the restroom and touching raw meat.

• Washing of hands before touching already prepared food.

• Wearing hand gloves by food workers.

• Separating raw food from cooked foods.

• Maintain a clean environment for food preparation and storage.

• Avoiding misconceptions about food regulations.

• Effectiveness of the manager's most important food safety responsibility which encompasses training employees on the implications of food poisoning.


It is the responsibility of everyone who in one way or the other comes in contact with food to ensure that food is safe for consumption. Washing hands, following food sanitation rules, cleaning cooking utensils, and making sure that food is prepared in a clean environment will help to eradicate contamination in food service.

My name is Emmanuel. I'm a Nurse and a food lover. I have worked with many food blogs in the past before creating InfoTipsBlog to share food safety tips.

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