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Frequently asked questions about protection against foodborne infections in private households

Updated BfR FAQ of 9 September 2020

Many people are concerned about pesticides or other chemical substances in food. Handling food incorrectly can also endanger health, however, especially if it results in foodborne infections or food poisoning. Roughly 100,000 illnesses that may have been caused by the presence of microorganisms in food, in particular bacteria, viruses or parasites, are reported in Germany every year, and the real figure could be much higher. Foodborne infections are usually associated with stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomiting. Infections with hepatitis viruses could also lead to inflammation of the liver. Usually foodborne infections and food poisoning are usually self-limiting diseases. For people whose body’s defences are impaired with respect to foodborne infections, or whose immune systems are not fully developed (small children, pregnant women, older people or people with existing illnesses), however, they can be life-threatening in extreme cases. The following steps should be taken to ensure that these consequences do not occur:

  • Avoid the contamination of food with pathogens
  • Reduce the propagation of pathogens in food and
  • Prevent the survival of pathogens in food

The BfR has compiled in the following paragraphs some recommendations for consumers who aim to protect themselves and their families and friends from illness through hygienic handling of food.

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09.09.2020
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Protection against foodborne infections in private households 366.2 KB
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09.09.2020
Updated BfR FAQ
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