What is a foodborne illness?


What Is A Foodborne Illness?

We all have heard of foodborne illness, and some might have even experienced it at some point in our lives. According to a report by the CDC, around 48 million foodborne illnesses and up to 3000 deaths occur every year in the US. The numbers are surprisingly huge, right?

Now, you might wonder what exactly a foodborne illness is. How does the food get contaminated to the point that it can even cause death? Who is most likely to get affected by it? What are the symptoms? And how can we prevent it?

We will one by one cover all these questions in this blog. So, let’s move straight towards that.

What Is A Foodborne Illness?

As the name suggests, foodborne illness is caused by consuming contaminated foods or drinks. Viruses, bacteria, parasites, and chemicals or toxins can contaminate food. Pathogens can enter the food at any stage of the food cycle and cause illness. Foodborne illnesses can be just a mild discomfort but sometimes can even turn into life-threatening diseases. So, recognizing the problem at the right time becomes crucial.

What are its symptoms?

Well, symptoms are generally flu-like, such as

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Body aches
  • Fever
  • fatigue

As the symptoms are very common, people generally don’t pay attention to the fact that they might have ingested harmful microbes or pathogens. Therefore, you should consult a doctor when any severe symptoms, including high fever ( over 102 F), bloody diarrhea or diarrhea lasting more than three days, dehydration, or continuous vomiting, occur.

Who is most likely to get impacted?

While everybody is at risk of acquiring foodborne illnesses, some people are at relatively higher risk. They are:-

  • Young children and infants
  • Elderly people
  • Pregnant women and their unborn babies
  • People with weakened immune symptoms due to illness or medical conditions.

The Importance Of Food Safety Training

Now that we have discussed foodborne diseases, the next question is how to prevent them. That’s where the importance of food safety training comes into the picture. Food safety training is quite underrated, given that it’s a total game-changer. So, why exactly is food safety training such a big deal? Let’s break it down.

The food we eat comes to us after a long cycle of procurement, preparation, and delivery. Before we consume it, many people come in contact with it. So, to ensure that everyone plays a part in ensuring that every bite you take is free from harm, food safety training becomes essential. It’s not just about knowing how to cook; it’s about understanding the ins and outs of food safety protocols.

Here are some points why Food safety training is so important:

  • Crucial for Public Health: Food safety training is essential for safeguarding public health by preventing foodborne illnesses.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Efforts: It ensures that everyone involved in food handling—from chefs to servers—is well-equipped to maintain safety standards.
  • Focus on Protocols: The training covers vital protocols to prevent contamination, such as proper handwashing, sanitation, and temperature control.
  • Protection for All: It not only protects consumers but also the workers themselves, reducing the risk of illness among food handlers.
  • Relevance Beyond Restaurants: Food safety training is beneficial in various settings, including grocery stores and food processing facilities.
  • Understanding and Compliance: It promotes understanding of food safety principles, encouraging compliance with regulations and protocols.
  • Empowerment for Individuals: Equips individuals with the knowledge to safeguard their health when handling or consuming food.
  • Gratitude for Food Handlers: Acknowledges the efforts of food handlers and the importance of their role in ensuring safe dining experiences.
  • Long-Term Benefits: Emphasizes that investing in food safety training yields long-term benefits for public health and well-being.

How Can A Food Handler Certificate Reduce The Chances Of Foodborne Illness?

First things first, let’s talk about what a safe food handler certificate actually entails. It’s not just a fancy piece of paper—it’s proof of the knowledge and skills required to handle food safely. Let us discuss its importance in detail:

Preventing Contamination

One of the primary ways a safe food handler certificate reduces the risk of foodborne illness is by emphasizing the importance of preventing contamination at every step of the food handling process. This includes everything from proper handwashing techniques to maintaining clean and sanitized work surfaces.

Temperature Control

Another critical aspect covered in food safety training is temperature control. Properly storing, cooking, and serving food at the right temperatures helps kill off harmful bacteria and pathogens, reducing the risk of foodborne illness.

Understanding Risks

Food handlers with a safe food handler certificate are trained in best practices and understand the risks associated with food handling. This helps them identify potential hazards and take quick measures to mitigate them before they become a problem.

Compliance with Regulations

In many places, holding a safe food handler certificate is mandatory for all workers involved in the preparation or handling of food. By ensuring that food handlers are trained and certified, regulatory bodies can help maintain a higher standard of food safety across the board.

Confidence for Consumers

Knowing that the folks behind the counter have undergone rigorous training instills confidence in consumers. It’s like having a seal of approval that assures the consumers that the food is safe to eat.

Reducing Liability

Businesses with certified food handlers on staff help reduce potential liabilities in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak. It shows a commitment to safety, helps maintain a loyal customer base, and avoids any such losses.

Continuous Improvement

Finally, holding a safe food handler certificate is not a one-and-done deal. It’s a commitment to constant improvement and staying up-to-date with the developments in food safety. This ongoing education ensures that food handlers are always equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to keep your meals safe.

Therefore, a safe food handlers certificate is proof that it is more than just a piece of paper. It’s an effective tool for preventing foodborne illness and makes sure that the food we eat is safe.


Well, now that we understand foodborne illnesses, their seriousness cannot be undermined. Foodborne illness needs urgent attention and care. Moreover, you can also explore the free safe food handler gamepack for a better understanding. By investing in the right food safety training and certification, we can protect the health and welfare of the consumers and also bring a culture of safety and accountability in the food industry.

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