Gastrointestinal infections usually cause one or more of the following symptoms: diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, vomiting or fever.
Food poisoning can be caused by infectious agents, such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa, or non-infectious agents such as toxins, chemicals and heavy metals.
Transmission can be either food borne, or from person to person via the faecal-oral route and some are also transmitted by water.
Control measures include proper storage of food, ie through temperature control and avoidance of cross-contamination between raw and cooked food, thorough cooking of food, and good standards of hygiene.
The Food Standards Agency was formed in April 2000 and assumed responsibility for food safety throughout the UK. The agency has a target to reduce food borne disease by 20% by 2006.
The organisms that are specifically targeted are Salmonella sp, Campylobacter sp, Clostridium perfringens, Eschericheria coli O157 and Listeria sp).
Laboratory reports of :