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What Is Food Poisoning and It's Main Causes?

In the briefest of words, food poisoning can be defined as a food borne illness that develops via eating spoilt, toxic or rotten food.

While it can last quite a few days and is very uncomfortable, food poisoning is in fact very common, with at least 1 in six people contracting some form of it every year.

It is very unlikely that food poisoning will go undiagnosed or detected should you contact it because there are a standard number of symptoms that can lead to it of which some common ones include the following:

1: Diarrhea for at least two to three days
2: Vomiting or feeling nauseous
3: High fever of over 101.5 degree
4: Abdominal cramps
5: Tiredness
6: Loss of appetite
7: Weakness and headaches


Highly life threatening forms of food poisoning can even include symptoms like bloody urine, difficulty in speech, severe dehydration etc. You must immediately consult your doctor if symptoms such as these persist for at least 2-3 days.

3 Major Causes of Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is generally caused by three major factors that are as follows:

1: Bacteria

Bacteria is perhaps the most commonly known cause of food poisoning and include names like Listeria, Salmonella etc.

The latter is a dangerous bacteria which is the biggest culprit or reason behind most severe cases of food poisoning with at least 100000 cases and 20000 hospitalizations being traced down to salmonella infection.

Listeria, botulinum etc. are two other potentially lethal bacteria that can also find its way into our food and harm us.


While cases of food poisoning from parasites aren’t as common as those caused by bacterial infection, parasites that spread through your food are still lethal and life threatening in nature.

Toxoplasma, typically found in cat litter boxes, is perhaps the most common parasite that has been found in most cases of food poisoning.

Parasites can survive undetected in your digestive tract for a long time and this is especially dangerous when it comes to people with weak immune systems, pregnant women etc. for it can risk serious and dangerous side effects.


Viruses are another cause for food poisoning and are again dangerous if transmitted through your food.

Norwalk or norovirus is the most common virus causing at least 19000 cases of food poisoning in a year, in some cases even deeming fatal. Less common viruses like sapovirus, astovirus etc. can also cause food poisoning.