represents a particularly interesting bacteria because it naturally resides in warm waters on the chitinous shell of crustaceans; we can acquire infections caused by these bacteria either by ingesting macrocrustaceans such as crabs as a food item or if we inadvertently ingest microcrustaceans contained in drinking water. The outcome of ingesting V cholerae by either of these processes leads to a diarrheal illness that can be transmitted by sewage; thus, infectious agents that might have been acquired from a food can lead to waterborne infection. Natural environmental microorganisms can cause other noninfectious illnesses associated with food items. Examples of bacterial species that cause such noninfectious illnesses are Clostridium botulinum, whose toxin causes nerve paralysis, and Clostridium perfringens, which, although normally associated with causing gas gangrene in deep wounds, will produce a toxin that can cause gastroenteritis when consumed.
Streptococcus in macaroni and cheese,7 and Calicivirus with freshly cut fruit.8
TABLE 37.1 Examples of characteristic associations between foods and infectious diseasesa
common processing or packaging equipment. Assuring adequate disinfection at the processing step is particularly important in light of the fact that some microbial contaminants such as bacteria and fungi can grow in foods following packaging, and the distribution and marketing process for some foods may involve long periods during which that growth could occur. A few common examples of food items contaminated during processing are bacterial contaminations of meat, frozen fresh foods, and dairy products. Outbreaks of infection due to bacterial genus such as Listeria are frequently reported and linked with foodborne illness.13 Listeria are often associated with milk and other dairy products and is also associated with processed products containing red meat or poultry (such as sausages and luncheon meats) when these meat products are sold in a precooked, prepackaged form. Listeria are considered to be sourced from soil and animals and have been shown to be sourced from unsanitary factory production or food-handling practices. The presence of Shigella in food items presumably represents direct contact of the food with human feces or with the contaminated hands of workers, which can occur either prior to harvesting, during harvesting, or during processing prior to marketing.14