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MANUAL OF NAVAL PREVENTIVE MEDICINE
APPENDIX A. FOODBORNE ILLNESSES
A-1 GENERAL INFORMATION
A-2 FOODBORNE ILLNESSES
A-3 GUIDELINES FOR INVESTIGATING FOODBORNE ILLNESS
A-1 GENERAL INFORMATION
a. Food is defined as a substance taken or absorbed in the body of an
organism in order to sustain growth and repair, support vital processes and
furnish energy for all activities of the organism. Though it is usually
considered necessary for the preservation and maintenance of good health,
there are several instances in which food may be harmful to an individual's
health.
b. Food can affect health as a result of:
(1) Hypersensitivity or allergic conditions in which  individuals
will exhibit symptoms of an allergic reaction usually immediately upon
ingestion of the food. The symptoms range from lip swelling, mild rash,
angioedema to anaphylactic shock.
(2) Enzymes and other deficiency conditions in which the complete
absence or abnormal function of an enzyme or substrate of a specific
metabolic process will result in the abnormal processing of certain food.
An example is lactase deficiency. In individuals who are deficient in this
intestinal mucosal enzyme which catalyzes the breakdown of lactose, the
ingestion of milk (which contains lactose) will result in abdominal
cramping, bloating, flatulence and diarrhea.  This generally results in the
abnormal accumulation of certain metabolites and deficiency of others.
(3) Contamination in which the food serves as a major vehicle for
transmission of diseases in the population.  Production and processing of
food creates many opportunities for contamination before it reaches the
consumer.
A-2 FOODBORNE ILLNESSES
a. Foodborne illnesses are syndromes acquired by the consumption of
food contaminated by disease pathogens, microbial toxins or poisonous
chemical substances. These illnesses are frequently sub-classified as
infections or intoxications.
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