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People may die due to food poisoning. What are the major dangers? Sometimes in restaurants people eat a meal and get sick. How can we see that the food is dangerous?

closed as too broad by Erica, Ward, Cindy, rumtscho Nov 16 '18 at 14:29

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  • Hi, it seems that you want a complete treatise on all of food safety. This is way too broad to be answered in a question here. I would recommend reading our compilation in the tag info for a beginning, you will find it here: cooking.stackexchange.com/tags/food-safety/info. If that's not enough, there are textbooks on food safety, including free texts like FDA's bad bug book. – rumtscho Nov 16 '18 at 14:30
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As said in the other answer, there are many types of food poisoning, some of which can be detected, some of which can't. The best bet is to trust your senses. If you have some experience and something doesn't "taste right" it's probably good to not eat it. If you're preparing your own food go for smell and look first (strange or rotten smell, discolorations, mold, ...). You can also taste a bit in most cases, where you're not sure and spit it out in case you found it spoiled.

One form of food poisoning i want to mention specifically, because, although rather rare, it is especially nasty and dangerous: botulism. It is caused by a certain kind of bacteria that can live on nearly all our food, but are harmless by itself and are destroyed by our stomach acid. When they are kept in a low-oxygen environment however, as in tinned food that is preserved in oil, they multiply and produce a very toxic poison that can lead to everything from tiredness to diarrhea and, if not treated, even death. It is rather rare, though, so don't be too worried. The poison is tasteless, however, so it is very hard to detect. It can for example be found in tinned food that is not properly preserved. If you want to preserve food always be sure to cook it long enough and add enough acid to kill all bacteria beforehand. The preserving community on the internet is of much help here.

On a side note: these bacteria are also the main reason why parents are often advised to not give raw veggies and honey to their babies, as their stomach acid is not strong enough to kill them.

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Welcome to the forum! Food poisoning may be due to many reasons, some of which are restaurants leaving food unrefrigerated, not washing produce thoroughly or not cooking meats and eggs to a high enough temperature ( varies among meats, poultry and eggs). Sometimes you can tell it's moldy from smell or color, but other times, unfortunately, like in the case of E. coli, you can't tell whether the food is contaminated by the way it looks, smells, or tastes. Try to make sure all food is fully cooked, do not eat dishes with uncooked meats, all raw vegetables should be washed, and do not eat dishes with uncooked eggs. Good luck!

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