Food poisoning

Every year, more than 4 million Canadians get food poisoning, also known as "foodborne illness."

Food poisoning occurs when a person gets sick from eating food that has been contaminated with harmful bacteria, parasites or viruses. The most common symptoms of food poisoning include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

Protect yourself by learning about food poisoning, its symptoms and treatments, and how to avoid getting sick in the first place.

In this topic

Botulism

Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve poison that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum).

Campylobacter jejuni

Foods contaminated with C. jejuni look, smell and taste normal. The good news is, C. jejuni and many other harmful bacteria can be killed by cooking food properly.

Cronobacter

Cronobacter (formerly known as Enterobacter sakazakii) is a type of bacteria that is sometimes found in food. These bacteria are not commonly linked to human illness, but in rare cases they can cause serious or fatal infections.

Cyclospora

Cyclospora is a microscopic parasite found naturally in the intestines of humans. Cyclospora is spread when people eat or drink food or water that has been contaminated with infected feces (stool).

E.coli

Our food supply in Canada is generally very safe, but sometimes the food we eat may carry bacteria that can make us sick, like Escherichia coli O157:H7, which is commonly called E. coli.

Hepatitis A and E

Hepatitis is a disease that can cause inflammation of the liver. There are many causes of hepatitis, both infectious and non-infectious.

Listeria and Listeriosis

Listeria is bacteria found in food, soil, plants, sewage and other places in nature. Animals and humans can carry Listeria in their intestines without knowing it.

Norovirus

Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause gastroenteritis in people, an illness that usually includes diarrhea and/or vomiting.

Salmonella and Salmonellosis

People who eat food contaminated by Salmonella can become ill with salmonellosis. The disease is more common in summer than in winter.

Shigella

People who are infected with Shigella can become ill with shigellosis, an acute intestinal illness. Shigella is not naturally present on foods.

Vibrio

Vibrios are toxin-producing bacteria that are found naturally in water, fish and shellfish. Vibrios are usually transferred to people when they eat food or drink beverages that are contaminated.

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