Top 10 Foodborne Pathogens

The following are a list of the top 10 "least wanted" foodborne pathogens as published by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  Simple food handling and safety practices can prevent all of these pathogens from becoming a problem.  Unfortunately, few consumers are well-educated on these pathogens and the practices they should employ when handling their families' and their pet's food.  As such, we've created this section of our website to provide a bit of educational material to our customers.

Listeria Monocytogenes

This pathogen can cause persistent fever, muscle aches, constipation and vomiting. It is one of the most dangerous of food borne pathogens.

Campylobacter Jejuni

Although rarely life-threatening, this pathogen is the leading cause of human gastroenteritis. It is also known to cause Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), which usually forms 2 - 3 weeks after initial infection.

Clostridium Botulinum

A bacterium that produces neurotoxins, this pathogen is most commonly associated with botulism. Symptoms include nausea, fatigue, blurred vision and descending paralysis.

Cyclospora

This pathogen is known to cause “traveler’s diarrhea”, as it is most commonly acquired while traveling. It has previously been linked to imported raspberries, and prior to 1990 was virtually unknown.

E. Coli 0157:H7

This enterohemorrhagic strain of E. coli can occasionally lead to kidney failure, and is particularly dangerous to young children and the elderly.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A virus is a common pathogen, most commonly contracted due to unclean water or infected meat. The effects are inflammation and irritation of the liver, and immediate medical attention should be consulted.

Norovirus

Formerly known as Norwalk agent, the symptoms for this virus are diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. It is a leading cause of acute gastroenteritis.

Salmonella

This pathogen can cause illnesses like typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever and common food borne illnesses. Although not as dangerous as other pathogens, more severe illnesses can develop in certain cases.

Shigella

Related to Salmonella and E. Coli, this virus is found in humans and apes. It causes dysentery when contracted, which is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, particularly the colon. Dysentery can be fatal if left untreated.

Vibrio

Vibrio is most commonly found in salt water, making it particularly dangerous in undercooked seafood. By releasing a toxin, it causes an abnormal release of water in the intestine, producing severe diarrhea. Treatment is simply a matter of replenishing the body’s fluids; however in extreme cases death from dehydration is possible.

If you have concerns that you, a family member or a pet may have food poisoning, please consult medical professionals immediately.  The following information is meant as a general guideline, and has been researched from other sources.

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