Risks and Severity

To avoid food-borne illnesses, observe hygiene rules and the cold and heat chain. If you suspect a food to be the cause of a food-borne illness, keep it refrigerated and contact the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC): pointcontact@afsca.be or 0800 13 550. If symptoms persist or worsen, contact your general practitioner. 

What are the complications of a food-borne illness?

The food-borne illness can be more or less severe depending on the microorganism or toxin ingesteds and the health of the infected person

More often than not it is a case of gastroenteritis but sometimes certain serious or even fatal complications can develop:

  • septicemia
  • kidney failure
  • nervous disorders
  • miscarriage
  • paralysis.

Those at risk are at greater risk of developing food-borne illness-related complications, such as dehydration.

A food-borne illness caused by a resistant bacterium

The abusive use of antibiotics by humans and the antibiotic treatment of many animals for consumption favour the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria enter the food chain through animals (e.g.: Salmonella via chickens).

When meat is consumed, resistant bacteria from the animal can be transmitted to humans and cause infections that are sometimes difficult to treat. 

In fact, when a bacterium is resistant, certain antibiotic treatments are ineffective and can lead to complications.

The main purpose of food-borne illness monitoring is to trace their cause in order to take preventive measures to avoid other cases.

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