Foodborne illness, colloquially known as food poisoning, describes any illness caused by contaminated food. That includes both infectious diseases caused by microbes like bacteria and viruses, and conditions caused by toxic chemicals in the food. Although chemical contamination can happen, most of the toxins commonly found in food are created by bacteria.
Many bacteria release toxic chemicals as they reproduce and spread through a food source. Every living thing creates waste of some kind, and most bacteria are harmless. Bacteria can even be useful, such as in yogurt making. Bacteria found in yogurt can even supply us with nutrients. However, some are capable of producing chemicals that can be fatal to humans. Even if those bacteria are killed, the contaminants they create remain.
So how do you tell which bacteria are the good ones and which are the harmful ones? Without very controlled conditions, you can’t. Processes like refrigeration and pasteurization are designed to kill bacteria and prevent their spread, keeping food fresh. If a restaurant, grocery store, or other food-handling business sells products that have been allowed to sit out or otherwise mistreated, they’re putting the lives of their customers at risk.
If you or someone you love have been seriously harmed because an establishment sold contaminated food, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and suffering. You shouldn’t have to suffer because of their negligence.