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Types of contamination in food

One of the main sources by which we come into contact with polluting and toxic substances is food. Although there are controls designed to avoid the presence of toxic substances in food, more frequently than we would like, food contamination occurs, which means that the health of people and animals can be compromised. In addition, there are various types of contamination in food and, depending on the type, we will be facing one problem or another. If you want to know a little more about this problem, keep reading AgroCorrn and we will tell you about it.

You may also be interested in: Types of environmental pollution
  1. Types of contamination that food can present
  2. What are the dangers of food contamination
  3. How to avoid food contamination

Types of contamination that food can present

The ways in which food can be contaminated are very varied and, in fact, some of them are the result of a poor choice of packaging materials or products for its manufacture. On the other hand, other times the contamination of these can come from poor hygiene in the sanitary control processes. These are the different types of contamination in food :

Biological contamination

When we talk about biological contamination, we refer to the presence of live agents in food that are potentially dangerous. Viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites would enter this range of food contamination. It is a type of food contamination that is currently quite controlled, which allows its presence to be merely accidental, reducing to a few cases the biological contamination that can be found in food thanks to the rigorous sanitary controls that are carried out in the countries of our country. environment.

Natural contamination of food

In this case, these are contaminants that are naturally present in food and, if not treated properly, their consumption can become dangerous for health. It is important to bear in mind that, although it is natural, it is a different type of contamination from the biological one, since, in this case, we are not dealing with an agent that can reproduce and spread in people and animals when they consume it, but that it would be toxins present in certain foodsthat they would be poisonous and that they should be eliminated before consumption. An example of this type of natural contamination would be the puffer fish, which has a poisonous toxin and makes it necessary to separate this substance from the edible part for its consumption. We can say that it is not a contamination that occurs in the plant or animal, but that when seeing that plant or that animal as food, it is no longer suitable for consumption, so it can be considered contaminated, unless it is remove the toxic substance.

Pollution by environmental toxins

When we speak of toxic environmental pollutants, we are referring to toxic substances that, in this case, pass into food due to their presence in the environment. These are generally artificial substances or that, at least, have reached the environment artificially. An example of this are heavy metals such as mercury or cadmium, which pass into the environment through the action of humans and, from here, pass to plants and animals later destined for food consumption. For example, this is what happens when batteries are thrown into the environment instead of recycling them, since batteries are very toxic to the environment.

Agricultural Toxic Pollution

In this case, it is about artificial toxic pollutants that are also in the immediate environment of food but, unlike environmental toxins, their presence is not accidental, but they are voluntarily deposited to obtain certain benefits in the cultivation of agricultural food. The clearest example of this type of contamination is found in pesticides and pesticides used in agriculture. These substances prevent crops from being attacked by insect pests. However, they pass into food and eventually into the human food chain. Therefore, it is best to opt for natural insecticides for plants .

Contamination by migration of packaging

Finally, there is also a type of food contamination that is very similar to environmental toxic contamination but, in this case, its origin comes from the containers where the food is stored. The best examples are found in some types of plastic and aluminum , which are substances that pass in the form of microscopic molecules to foods that are packaged with these materials and, when consumed, also end up passing into organisms. For this reason, more and more people are looking for a way to eliminate the use of aluminum foil in the kitchen .

What are the dangers of food contamination

Food contamination directly affects the health of animals and people when it is consumed. It can manifest itself in different ways, but it is always negative health conditions for organisms that have been contaminated and that manifest themselves in the form of diseases.

We can distinguish two main types of diseases derived from food contamination: communicable and non-communicable.

Communicable diseases would refer only to biological contamination , since, once they enter the body, they infect it and still have the ability to infect other organisms. On the other hand, non-communicable diseases would be those that, having their origin in food contamination, can only affect people or animals that have consumed the contaminated food.

In this sense, it is also important to bear in mind that the amount of ingested contamination will be a fundamental factor when developing these diseases. For example, if we eat a small amount of fish contaminated by mercury, it will not be a problem, since our body will be able to eliminate it. However, if this intake is maintained over time, it is most likely that diseases linked to mercury contamination will develop. This does not happen with communicable diseases of biological origin, which with a single intake of contaminated food can develop the disease in question.

How to avoid food contamination

The only way to avoid food contamination is to ensure that the regulations on the cultivation, handling, storage, etc. of food are complied with and to reduce environmental contamination, water contamination, etc. As it is somewhat complex to have all this and there are certain types of contamination that cannot be completely avoided, we must think of more options for day to day.

Thus, to avoid getting intoxicated or contaminating ourselves, it is best to avoid contaminated food, which can be difficult, but not impossible. In this sense, it is important to know what types of contamination each type of food can present, as well as the risks that each one of them has.

A good way to avoid a large number of environmental and agricultural pollutants is to choose foods of ecological origin , which are foods that are characterized by being made without toxic substances for our body.

Likewise, another important element would be to properly clean food before consuming it . A fairly effective way to clean fruits and vegetables of the main amount of pesticides is to wash them with water and vinegar in the kitchen sink. After five minutes we rinse and dry, with which we will have eliminated a considerable part of these contaminants. Another option that should be considered is something as simple as peeling the fruit, since most of the pesticides accumulate in the most superficial layers of the vegetables.

If you want to read more articles similar to Types of contamination in food , we recommend that you enter our Contamination category .

Maria Anderson

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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