Food poisoning

Food poisoning symptoms / causative substances

The causative substances of food poisoning can be classified into “bacteria”, “natural poisons”, “viruses”, “chemical substances”, and “others”.

Food poisoning and symptoms

Food poisoning is a health disorder caused by ingesting harmful substances contained in food and drink.

Generally, it causes acute gastrointestinal disorders such as “vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea”, but it may also cause nervous system symptoms such as tingling on the cheeks and under the eyes, difficulty in exerting force, and lack of voice.

In general households, when the initial symptoms are mild, it is easy to be mistaken for a mere illness or cold, but it is necessary to be careful because there are many cases of death due to food poisoning.

Substances that cause food poisoning

Food poisoning is classified into “bacterial food poisoning”, “natural poisoning food poisoning”, “viral food poisoning”, “food poisoning caused by chemical substances”, and “other things” depending on the causative substance.

Bacterial food poisoning

Bacterial food poisoning is classified into “infectious type” and “toxin type”.

The conditions for the growth of pathogens are temperature (depending on the type of pathogen, it is easy to grow at 30-40 ° C), humidity (the more water there is, the easier it is to grow), and nutrients (proteins, sugars, vitamins). Is required.

Natural poisoning Food poisoning

Natural poisoning Food poisoning is divided into “animal food poisoning” and “vegetable natural poisoning”.

Animal food poisoning
  • Fugu (blowfish poison) … Tetrodotoxin
  • Bivalve (shellfish poisoning) … Saxitoxin
  • Conch (shellfish poisoning) … Tetramine
Natural plant poison
  • Aconitum … Aconitine
  • Poisonous mushrooms … amatoxin, muscarine
  • Potato sprouts … solanine
  • Ome(unripe plums) … Amygdalin

Viral food poisoning

“Norovirus” is a typical example of viral food poisoning, but there are also viral hepatitis such as hepatitis A and hepatitis E.

Chemical food poisoning

There are detergents, bleaches, accidental ingestion of pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, etc.), use, food contamination by harmful metals (mercury, arsenic, etc.) and tentative compounds.

Other food poisoning

In addition to parasites, there are mold venoms (mycotoxins).

Aflatoxin, a type of mold venom, has been reported to be contaminated with “almonds, corn, pistachios, spices” and is said to be highly carcinogenic.

Major Bacterial Food Poisoning / Viral Food Poisoning

“Vibrio parahaemolyticus”, “Campylobacter” and “Salmonella” are infectious bacterial food poisoning.

Most of the food poisoning that occurs in Japan is caused by bacteria and viruses.

Let’s look at the characteristics of each of the main causes.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus

Since it causes food poisoning through sea fish and shellfish, it was the number one outbreak when Japanese people consumed a lot of fish.

However, it has been on a downward trend in recent years.

Details of Vibrio parahaemolyticus


It likes salt and grows at a concentration of about 3%, which is about the same as seawater.

It occurs frequently from summer to autumn, and although it grows faster than other bacteria, it is vulnerable to fresh water and heat.

Incubation period

10-18 hours

Main symptoms

Abdominal pain, watery diarrhea, fever, vomiting

Cause food

In addition to seafood (sashimi, sushi, processed seafood), various foods due to secondary pollution (salted fish, etc.)

Prevention method

Wash seafood thoroughly with fresh water, no matter how fresh it is.

Store in the refrigerator even for a short time to suppress proliferation.

It will die after heating at 60 ° C for 10 minutes.


In recent years, it has become the most common food poisoning in Japan.

Another feature is that there are many cases where the number of patients is one.

Details of Campylobacter


It lives in the intestines of poultry (birds) and livestock (cattle and pigs) and contaminates meat.

It is very vulnerable to drying and will die with normal cooking.

Incubation period

48-168 hours (2-7 days)

Main symptoms

Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fever.

Fatigue and headaches may occur, and it is easy to mistake them for a cold.

Cause food

Meat, drinking water, raw vegetables

In recent years, meat (especially chicken) has been increasing.

Prevention method

Let’s disinfect the cooking utensils with boiling water and let them dry well.

Avoid contact between the meat and other foods and heat the meat sufficiently.

Salmonella spp

It is an intestinal bacterium that lives in the digestive tract of humans and animals, and may be detected in pets kept at home.

Details of Salmonella


It is widely distributed in the intestinal tract of animals and in the natural world (rivers, sewage, etc.).

Eggs are contaminated from the shell to the contents.

Incubation period

8-48 hours

Main symptoms

Severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, weakness

Cause food

Chicken eggs, meat (beef liver sashimi, chicken), etc.

Prevention method

Heat the meat and eggs sufficiently.

It will die if heated at 75 ° C for 1 minute or longer.

Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus itself is sensitive to heat, but enterotoxin, a toxin produced during growth, is heat resistant.

The feature is that it cannot be detoxified by heating a little.

Details of Staphylococcus aureus


It is distributed in human and animal suppurative wounds and nasopharynx, and is also called suppurative bacterium.

Incubation period

1-3 hours

Main symptoms

Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea

Cause food

Rice balls, sandwiches, bento boxes, namagashi

Prevention method

Make sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect your fingers.

If you have a wound or suppuration wound, be careful not to touch the food directly.

Botulinum toxin

Botulinum toxin produced in food causes food poisoning.

It is also known to have a high mortality rate due to this bacterium.

Details of Botulinum toxin


Widely inhabits the natural world such as soil, rivers and animal intestines.

This bacterium grows in the absence of oxygen.

Incubation period

12-36 hours

Main symptoms

Vomiting, headache, pain in limbs, visual impairment, dyspnoea

Cause food

Sausages, ham, canned meat, izushi, etc.

Prevention method

Cook well and store at low temperatures.

Bacillus cereus

Bacillus cereus is divided into vomiting and diarrhea types.

Since it forms spores, it is highly resistant to heating and drying.

What is a spore?

It is a type of cell structure created by a specific bacterium.

When the growth environment becomes unsuitable for growth, it is formed inside the cells, and when the environment becomes suitable for growth, it becomes the original cells and proliferates again.

Details of Bacillus cereus


It inhabits a wide range of natural fields such as soil, water, and dust.

Incubation period

Vomiting type: 1-5 hours, diarrhea type: 8-16 hours

Main symptoms

Vomiting type: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain

Diarrhea type: diarrhea, abdominal pain

Cause food

Vomiting type: fried rice, pilaf, spaghetti, etc.

Diarrhea type: meat, soup, sauce, pudding, etc.

Prevention method

Do not prepare rice or noodles, but eat them immediately after cooking.

Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli

It is food poisoning caused by Escherichia coli that produces verotoxin, and most of the causes are O157.


It lives in the intestinal tract of animals and pollutes food and drinking water through manure. (No droplet infection)

Incubation period

24-216 hours (1-9 days)

Main symptoms

Abdominal pain, bloody stool / uraemia with a large amount of fresh blood, disturbance of consciousness.

It can be fatal in a short time.

Cause food

Well water, grilled meat, beef liver, etc.

Prevention method

It is killed by heating at 75 ° C for 1 minute or more and disinfectants.

Sufficient prevention is possible by ensuring measures against normal food poisoning.

Clostridium perfringens

When it reaches the intestinal tract with food, it proliferates and produces toxins.

Outbreaks are common in school lunches.


Widely inhabits the intestinal tract, soil, and sewage of humans and animals.

The spores withstand heating at 100 ° C for 1-3 hours.

Incubation period

8-20 hours

Main symptoms

Diarrhea, abdominal pain

Cause food

Boiled dishes using meat, fish and vegetables, curry, etc.

Prevention method

Cook cleanly and eat immediately after cooking.


Outbreaks have been confirmed throughout the year, mainly in winter.

In addition, non-food-borne airborne infections have also been reported.

Details of norovirus


There are many secondary pollutions through food handlers, and the number of cases of infection is increasing.

Incubation period

24-48 hours

Main symptoms

Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, low-grade fever

Cause food

Bivalves such as oysters, secondary contaminated foods

Prevention method

Heat the ingredients firmly to the centre (at 85-90 ° C or higher for 90 seconds or longer) Thoroughly wash

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