Biological Hazards in Food


By Richard Lawley & Laurie Curtis

Published June 2012

Publisher: Food Safety Info

e-book (PDF format)
170 pages

ISBN: 978-0-9572993-0-6

The Food Safety Watch guide to Biological Hazards in Food provides the key facts about the most important biological agents that must be controlled for food to be safe. Written in a structured yet accessible style, the twenty-three chapters each deal with a single hazard, making it easy to find the information required. Each chapter also contains links to authoritative on-line information resources for anyone needing to know more.

This e-book is now available for immediate download at the introductory price of £12.00 (GBP).

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More about this book

A food safety hazard is anything present in food with the potential to harm the consumer, either by causing illness or injury. Food safety hazards can be biological, chemical, or a physical object. Good food safety practice must be science-based and a thorough understanding of hazards is the first essential step in their control.

Biological hazards pose the greatest immediate food safety threat to the consumer. For example, the capacity of food-poisoning bacteria to cause large outbreaks of acute illness is an ever-present threat in the food supply chain. It is microorganisms and food-borne parasites that are of most concern as biological food safety hazards.


A number of bacterial species are food safety hazards. Some, such as Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes, are familiar, whereas others are much less well understood. Campylobacter is an example of a less well known cause of food-borne illness. Few people have heard of this organism, yet it is now the cause of more reported cases of bacterial food poisoning in the developed world than any other agent, including Salmonella.


Viral gastroenteritis is very common worldwide and there are a number of viruses that are capable of causing food-borne infections. The best known are noroviruses and hepatitis A, which have been responsible for serious food-borne disease outbreaks.


A wide range of intestinal parasites can be transmitted to humans via contaminated foods. These organisms are much more prevalent in developing countries with poor sanitation, but the increasingly global nature of the food supply chain may increase their importance in the developed world.



Part 1: Bacteria

Bacillus species
Clostridium botulinum
Clostridium difficile
Clostridium perfringens
Escherichia coli
Listeria monocytogenes
Staphylococcus aureus
Vibrio parahaemolyticus
Vibrio vulnificus
Yersinia enterocolitica

Part 2: Viruses

Hepatitis A

Part 3: Parasites


View a sample chapter of Biological Hazards in Food.

The Authors

Richard Lawley and Laurie Curtis are food microbiologists with extensive experience in research and industry and are also authors of The Food Safety Hazard Guidebook, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry and now in its second edition.

This e-book is now available for immediate download at the introductory price of £12.00 (GBP).

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