Despite a strict control of sanitary conditions throughout the food chain, the infections are quite common, in France as elsewhere. Each year, around 1
.5 million people are victims of an infection of food in france, 17.
.600 are hospitalized and 256 die, according to a study published Tuesday 9 January by public Health, France.
The figures are judged to be “high” by the authors of the study.
Don’t look for the guilty, you will not find them. Or rather, you wouldn’t see them, because they are invisible. These are bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are called “food-borne pathogens”, that is to say that they are likely to trigger a disease by the ingestion of a food. In France, three microorganisms are responsible for approximately 70% of all food-borne infections and hospitalizations: norovirus, bacteria of the genera Campylobacter and salmonella.
This last is the origin of the greatest number of deaths: sixty each year. The bacteria Listeriamonocytogenes occupies the second rank in terms of mortality, just behind Salmonella, even though it represents less than 0. .1% of the cases.
” READ ALSO – How to react to food poisoning? How do these microbes make us sick?”Food poisoning can be either directly caused by ingestion of a pathogenic microorganism living – then we speak of foodborne infection, or by ingestion of a toxin that the body has previously occurred in the food it contaminates,” explains Florence Dubois-Brissonnet, professor of microbiology at the Institute Micalis (AgroParisTech-Inra).
In the case of an infection, different modes of action are implemented, depending on the type of bacteria. “When they do manage to pass through the stomach, very acidic, some pathogenic bacteria disrupt the functioning of the intestinal barrier, which leads to diarrhoea continues the microbiologist. Others, such as Listeriamonocytogenes, can pass this barrier and reach the blood, which can cause septicemia in immunocompromised individuals and spontaneous abortion in a pregnant woman.
“” READ ALSO – salmonella: what it is? What are the symptoms? What are the consequences? Where is it?These bacteria are widespread in the environment and they are transmitted to humans primarily via food. The consumption of meat of cattle, pork and poultry represents the main source of contamination with Listeria, Salmonella and Campylobacter. In fact, these bacteria are naturally present in the digestive tract of these animals or in their environment.
For Salmonella, the eggs and egg-based products, raw eggs, or having undergone a heat treatment insufficient, are also at risk. Cases of listeriosis can be linked to the consumption of very different foods, both of vegetable origin (fresh vegetables, salads, sprouts, melons) and animal feed (food ready-to-eat, soft cheeses, particularly those manufactured from raw milk). As for the norovirus, the cause of most cases of acute gastroenteritis, are transmitted most often by the fecal-oral route. The transmission can be direct (between persons) or indirect, through ingestion of contaminated food or water. According to the national Agency for food safety (Anses), the majority of the outbreaks of norovirus food-borne is linked to the consumption of contaminated shellfish.
In fact, norovirus, are resistant to water treatments, can persist in the environment.
Another source of contamination: the food handled by an infected person who has not taken precautionary hygiene.
” READ ALSO – food Infections: how to limit the risks? Despite the precautions in terms of hygiene, there is a risk that”today, the agri-food companies take huge precautions, points out Jean-François Cavin, professor of microbiology at Agrosup Dijon.
The people working in the cold, the equipment is sanitized very frequently, the packaging often food under a modified atmosphere retards the proliferation of microbes. There are a lot less problems today than when the food was manufactured in an artisanal way”.
However, there is always a risk.
“Recently, there was the case of the milk powder contaminated by Lactalis. It is related to the fact that the micro-organisms, when they are in a dry state, are very resistant in the long term, ” explains Jean-François Cavin. Once they are rehydrated, they can proliferate rapidly and pose a risk if the food is not comsommé in the hour that follows.
In this case, the parents would boil the milk for a few seconds, which detruirait these pathogens, without significantly affecting the nutritional properties. .” .