RSSFact Sheets

LISTERIA

| February 2, 2013

What is Listeria? Listeria is a genus of Gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria, containing a number of species including L. monocytogenes, L. innocua, L. welshimeri, L. seeligeri, L. ivanovii and L. grayi. Although the first four of these have all been implicated in human infection nearly all cases of Listeria infection are caused by L. monocytogenes. At […]

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SALMONELLA

| February 2, 2013

What is Salmonella? Salmonella is a Gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium belonging to a family called the Enterobacteriaceae, but it is not included in the group of bacteria referred to as coliforms. Salmonella is one of the principal causes of foodborne illness worldwide and is also an important pathogen of livestock, causing infections that can be transmitted […]

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AFLATOXINS

| February 1, 2013

What are aflatoxins? The aflatoxins are a group of chemically similar toxic fungal metabolites (mycotoxins) produced by certain moulds of the genus Aspergillus growing on a number of raw food commodities. Aflatoxins are highly toxic compounds and can cause both acute and chronic toxicity in humans and many other animals. Their importance was first established […]

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SCOMBROTOXIN (HISTAMINE)

| January 30, 2013

What is scombrotoxin? Scombrotoxin is a foodborne toxin most often associated with the consumption of fish, particularly species belonging to the Scombridae and Scomberesocidae families (scombroid fish), such as mackerel and tuna. It can cause a mild, though sometimes distressing, form of foodborne intoxication (scombroid or scombrotoxic food poisoning) when ingested in sufficient quantities. Scombrotoxic […]

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OKADAIC ACID TOXINS

| January 30, 2013

What are okadaic acid toxins? The okadaic acid group of toxins (OA-toxins) are the cause of diarrhoeic shellfish poisoning (DSP), a foodborne intoxication associated with the consumption of contaminated shellfish harvested from waters affected by growth of certain types of toxic algae. DSP is a non-lethal form of food poisoning with symptoms typical of gastroenteritis, […]

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PATULIN

| January 30, 2013

What is patulin? Patulin is a toxic fungal metabolite (mycotoxin) produced by certain moulds of the genera Penicillium, Aspergillus and Byssochlamys growing on various food commodities, especially fruit. Patulin exhibits a number of toxic effects in animals and its presence in food is undesirable. Chemically, patulin is a polyketide lactone. It is a relatively small […]

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OCHRATOXINS

| January 30, 2013

What are ochratoxins? Ochratoxins are a small group of chemically related toxic fungal metabolites (mycotoxins) produced by certain moulds of the genera Aspergillus and Penicillium growing on a wide range of raw food commodities. Some ochratoxins are potent toxins and their presence in food is undesirable. The ochratoxins are pentaketides made up of dihydro-isocoumarin linked […]

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CIGUATOXINS

| January 30, 2013

What are ciguatoxins? The ciguatoxins (CTXs) are a group of marine biotoxins, which are the cause of a foodborne intoxication known as ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP). CFP is associated with consumption of coral reef fish from tropical and subtropical waters in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Caribbean sea. It was first recorded by […]

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GLYCOALKALOIDS

| January 30, 2013

What are glycoalkaloids? Many plants in the potato family (Solanaceae) contain glycoalkaloids, and they are considered to be natural toxins.  They are active as pesticides and fungicides and are produced by the plants as a natural defence against animals, insects and fungi that might attack them. The plant glycoalkaloids are toxic steroidal glycosides and the […]

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NOROVIRUSES

| January 30, 2013

What are noroviruses? Noroviruses is the name given to a group of related single-stranded RNA viruses that have recently been classified in the family Caliciviridae, genus Norovirus. These highly infectious enteric viruses are a major cause of acute gastroenteritis in humans (the infection is often called viral gastroenteritis). Although many cases are caused by person-to-person […]

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