Food Poisoning vs Food Spoilage
Food poisoning and spoilage are two different things, which affect the final quality and safety of foods. Food deterioration can occur throughout the whole period starting from the point of cultivation, until the point of consumption. Some of the deteriorations will result in low quality end product with unacceptable appearance, texture, taste and edibility where the others affect the chemical composition of food by altering the original. Both the economy and human health will be negatively affected in the case of neglecting the needed precautionary actions to prevent those deteriorations.
What is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning can be also referred as food borne illness. It is a result of consumption of contaminated food. The major contaminations can be microbial or chemical. Microbial contaminations are classified as intoxication, infection and toxicoinfection. Ingestion of toxins produced by microorganisms is called intoxication; toxicoinfection refers to the production of toxins after ingestion of harmful microorganisms. Food infection is due to colonization of a host organism by the microorganism, and is the source of the symptoms. Microorganisms responsible for these reactions can be commonly called as pathogenic microbes. Of the various types of microorganisms, bacteria and viruses are the prominent cause of food poisoning. Escherichia coli, Campyilobacter jejuni, Salmonella spp., and Clostridium botulinum Staphylococcus aureus are some of most common food borne pathogens. Symptoms of food poisoning are headaches, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and dehydration. Again, ingestion of chemically harmful compounds such as pesticide residues and medicines can cause food poisoning. Improper practices in food handling, storage and processing will directly make the food susceptible for microbial attacks. Therefore, good hygienic practices before, during and after preparation of food can reduce the chances of contamination.
What is Food Spoilage?
The definition of food spoilage can be interpreted as the process in which food deteriorates to the point in which it is not edible to humans. Perishable foods, which have a high susceptibility to spoilage, easily fall in to this category. Unlike food poisoning, spoilage will directly affect the quality of food, but the impact on food safety is less than in the poisoning. The group responsible for food spoilage is called spoilage microorganisms. Bacteria can decompose food by breaking them in to various products such as acids and waste; decomposed products can be hazardous. Nevertheless microorganism itself may or may not negatively affect the host. In that case, food borne illness may occur due to consumption of those chemically toxic compounds. Again, some food items that composed of high sugar content will be decomposed due to the activity of yeasts. This characteristic feature is also applied to the food industry in preparation of various food items such as bread, yogurt and alcoholic beverages.
What is the difference between food poisoning and food spoilage?
Both processes are related to food and microbial activity on them. Spoiled food items will affect the quality of food, while the poisoned food affects the safety of food. Finally, both negatively affect human health and reduce the economic profit to the industry.