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.
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 incidence of this illness is difficult to estimate. In the Netherlands a yearly incidence of gastrointestinal infections of 500 per 1,000 inhabitants is estimated