Or, All You Really Do Not Want to Know About the Stuff in Our Food.

From the introductory summary:

Bad Bug BookThe second edition of the Bad Bug Book, published by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides current information about the major known agents that cause foodborne illness.

Under the laws administered by FDA, a food is adulterated if it contains (1) a poisonous or otherwise harmful substance that is not an inherent natural constituent of the food itself, in an amount that poses a reasonable possibility of injury to health, or (2) a substance that is an inherent natural constituent of the food itself; is not the result of environmental, agricultural, industrial, or other contamination; and is present in an amount that ordinarily renders the food injurious to health.

The first includes, for example, a toxin produced by a fungus that has contaminated a food, or a pathogenic bacterium or virus, if the amount present in the food may be injurious to health. An example of the second is the tetrodotoxin that occurs naturally in some organs of some types of pufferfish and that ordinarily will make the fish injurious to health. In either case, foods adulterated with these agents are prohibited from being introduced, or offered for introduction, into interstate commerce.

The agents described in this book range from live pathogenic organisms, such as bacteria, protozoa, worms, and fungi, to non-living entities, such as viruses, prions, and natural toxins. Included in the chapters are descriptions of the agents’ characteristics, habitats and food sources, infective doses, and general disease symptoms and complications.

Also included are examples of outbreaks, if applicable; the frequency with which the agent causes illness in the U.S.; and susceptible populations. In addition, the chapters contain brief overviews of the analytical methods used to detect, isolate, and/or identify the pathogens or toxins.

So, what are you doing Saturday night?

  • Trish Somsel

    Hope you heard the commentary on unpasteurized milk today on NPR. Needs a rebuttal!

  • Dalpay

    We are learning to be more selective to the use of antibiotics in resolving food related illness. This must be included in the examination of adulterated foods. In Asia the use of human antibiotics on livestock in the food chain, may have contributed to the global distribution of H1N1.

    Offending bacterial agents, are often harmless in themselves, but produce toxic waste products in their life cycle. Cold storage of meat and produce, (with no omissions in handling), will effectively reduce consumer risk. Because at room temperature bacteria grows exponentially, food service personnel need to be trained in proper procedures. Toxic by -products make a single serving of Sushi troublesome to a health individual. Children, the elderly and the immune compromised are members of a risk group where proper food preparation is even more important.