Foodborne diseases encompass a wide spectrum of illnesses and are a growing public health problem worldwide. They are the result of ingestion of foodstuffs contaminated with microorganisms or chemicals. The contamination of food may occur at any stage in the process from food production to consumption (“farm to fork”) and can result from environmental contamination, including pollution of water, soil or air.
The most common clinical presentation of foodborne disease takes the form of gastrointestinal symptoms; however, such diseases can also have neurological, gynaecological, immunological and other symptoms. Multiorgan failure and even cancer may result from the ingestion of contaminated foodstuffs, thus representing a considerable burden of disability as well as mortality.