Foodborne illness is any illness resulting from the food spoilage of contaminated food, pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites that contaminate food, and also chemical or natural toxins such as poisonous mushrooms.
Symptoms may vary depending on the cause. A few broad generalizations can be made, for example The incubation period ranges from hours to days, depending on the cause and on how much was consumed. The incubation period tends to cause sufferers to not associate the symptoms with the item consumed, and so to cause sufferers to attribute the symptoms to gastro enteritis for example. Symptoms include vomiting, fever, and aches, and may include diarrhea Bouts of vomiting can be repeated with an extended delay in between, because even if infected food was eliminated from the stomach in the first bout, microbes can pass through the stomach into the intestine via cells lining the intestinal walls and begin to multiply. Some types of microbes stay in the intestine, some produce a toxin that is absorbed into the bloodstream, and some may directly invade deeper body tissues.
Foodborne illness is arises from improper handling, preparation, or food storage. Good hygiene practices before, during, and after food preparation can reduce the chances of contracting an illness. There is a consensus in the public health community that regular hand-washing is one of the most effective defenses against the spread of foodborne illness The action of monitoring food to ensure that it will not cause foodborne illness is known as food safety. Foodborne disease can also be raised by a large variety of toxins that affect the environment
Legislation that entered into force in Finland in 1995, entitled the Health Protection Act 763/1994, mandates the collection of information concerning foodborne outbreaks. A total of 7941 and 8438 cases of foodborne diseases were notified under the mandatory notification system in Finland in 1999 and 2000 respectively.