Microbiological risks in food
Many microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, parasites) are able to contaminate foodstuffs and cause a variety of illnesses. Measures implemented by health authorities and practitioners have resulted in a significant reduction in the main diseases caused by food. However, recent episodes of contamination in Europe, especially related to fresh produce, call for vigilance with regard to microbial hazards. The Agency is actively involved on this topic, which was one of the priorities of its Work Programme in 2012.
Terms such as “Use by”, “Use before” and “Best before” are printed on the packaging of food products. But how are they different? What do UBD and DMD mean? What products do they apply to? Can certain foods be safely eaten after their expiration date? What foods and drinks are imperishable? ANSES answers your most frequently asked questions and provides you with some tips to help you avoid making mistakes.
Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli are the two bacteria responsible for the great majority of human campylobacteriosis cases. This disease is transmitted from animals to humans (zoonosis) most often through the alimentary route (mainly poultry, but also beef, pork and contaminated water), as well as through contact with infected individuals, animals or carcasses. It is characterised by acute enteritis caused by an intestinal infection, followed, in 4 out of 5 cases, by spontaneous recovery within several days. This information sheet presents the disease as well as recommendations for controlling contamination.
Listeriosis is a foodborne disease caused by a bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes. This bacterium is frequently associated with minor digestive problems including diarrhoea. However, serious forms can affect susceptible populations such as pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised people. Below is a description of this disease and advice on how to avoid it.
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