Zinc poisoning in food is rare. It may occur when
acid foods are cooked in galvanized iron kettles.
Outbreaks have occurred when apples have been cooked
in this type of kettle.
Lead and Arsenic Poisonings
Lead and arsenic sometimes used to spray
vegetables may cause these foods to become poisonous.
Be sure all fresh fruits and vegetables are thoroughly
washed before you cook them, or before they are eaten
raw. Lead poisoning may also result from the ingestion
of food or water that has been in contact with lead pipes,
lead-plated equipment, and lead-soldered pots and pans.
Lead is a cumulative poison; the accumulation of small
doses in the body will eventually cause chronic lead
Fluoride poisoning is caused by sodium fluoride, a
substance often used to get rid of cockroaches. It is a
white powder that can be easily mistaken for powdered
milk. Keep all containers of such poison out of the
galley and bakeshop.
Methyl Chloride Poisoning
Methyl chloride poisoning is caused by leaking
Check your equipment for
such leaks and request scheduled planned maintenance
service (PMS) from the engineering division to detect
This type of illness is caused by toxins. Under
favorable conditions certain bacteria produce chemical
compounds called toxins, which, if ingested, cause food
intoxication. Staphylococcus is the most commonly
reported food intoxication.
The staphylococcus germ is found in the throat, on
the skin in pimples and boils, and in great abundance in
the postnasal drip of people recovering from colds.
Consequently, the most prevalent carrier of food
intoxication is foodservice personnel. People with any
of these symptoms must not be allowed to work in food
preparation spaces in any capacity.
Foods most associated with outbreaks of
staphylococcus are pork products and fowl. Ham is also
susceptible to staphylococcus poisoning and must not
be sliced too far in advance of serving unless properly
Other foods commonly involved are potted meats,
fish, cheese, milk products (including cream- and
custard-filled pastries), and potato and macaroni salads.
Foods can contain sufficient toxin to cause food
poisoning and yet have no odor of spoilage and no
Even when food has been properly
refrigerated, it can become contaminated by bacteria
while it is being prepared or while it is standing in the
galley before it is served.
Botulism is a second type of food intoxication. This
disease, usually fatal, is caused by the toxin produced
by the rod-shaped bacterium called clostridium
botulinum. Botulinum organisms are found in the soil
and gain access to foods through contact with soil, dust,
and possibly water.
The foods most often responsible for botulism are
either canned or fermented foods in which the
preserving process has not succeeded in destroying the
bacteria in the food.
The botulinum grows and
multiplies in an airtight container. However, when cans
are damaged, leak, bulge, or are sprung, the contents are
presumed to be unsafe.
The botulinum organisms sometimes produce a gas
and cheesy odor in food, but the absence of these signs
does not necessarily mean that the bacteria are not
This type of food illness is caused by
microorganisms such as the salmonella, shigella, and
clostridium species and the streptococcus, bacillus, and
typhoid fever bacteria.
A large percentage of food
infections are transmitted by foods that have been
allowed to remain at room temperature for a prolonged
period of time.
The great majority of outbreaks of food infection is
caused by meat (poultry, particularly turkey) and meat
mixtures. For this reason, poultry dressing should not be
served as a leftover. Other foods that may be involved
are custards, milk cream, ice cream, seafood, meat,
eggs, meat products, shellfish, salads, mayonnaise,