3 Types of Food Contamination You Should Know

3 Types of Food Contamination You Should Know

Let Everyone know

What is Food?

Food contamination
Table with food on top

Any substance that can provide energy, growth, repair or nutritional support to the body is called food. Furthermore, proper food saves you from medicines and provides healing to your body against disorders. Now let’s gradually move to the review of food contamination.

What is food contamination?

From the time you born, there is a war of your body with germs. If you eat nutritious food that increases the immunity of your body to fight against germs. But, if you eat food that contaminated with germs, this increases the power and strength of disease-causing microorganism. That’s how you fell ill. As bacteria; thermoactinomyces is responsible for fever and pneumonia.

To understand this topic, one must familiar with the difference between contaminants and adulterants.

Food contamination
Contaminated bread

Food Contamination versus Adulterant

  • Contaminant: Any substance that unintentionally added to the food. Pollution, dust, smoke, packaging, transportation, processing, farming, handling are the reasons for food contamination. This is the result of improper handling of food commodities.
  • Adulterant: Any substance that is intentionally added to the food. This is usually done to increase your productivity and to make more profit. The inferior quality product is mixed with a superior quality product and then send to the markets to be sold at a higher price.

How Food Fraud Practices Make You ill?

When food is not processed under hygienic condition or some type of chemicals are added to food to gain more profit, then the internal quality of food decreases. When you add adulterants during food processing then there is a 99% chance that the product is unhygienic. This unhygienic product makes you ill.

How Food Becomes Contaminated?

Contamination is the having of foreign or undesired matter in food. It is the major issue over the past few years, this is mostly due to,

  • Contamination through pests, insects, flies, mosquitoes and rodents
  • Improperly washed and cleaned utensils
  • Use of nonfood grade utensils for cooking
  • Poor GHP’s (good handling practices), GMP (good manufacturing practices) and personal hygiene
  • Uncleaned fingernails
  • Jewellery wearing and other ornamental products in the kitchen
  • Improper handling of food
dirty plates make food contamination
Dirty plates

Type of Food Contamination

There are four types of contamination. But here we are neglecting the fourth type; cross-contamination. Click here to read that article on cross-contamination. These are:

  1. Physical Contamination
  2. Chemical Contamination
  3. Biological Contamination

Physical Contamination:

When food handle improperly, it gets contaminated. Mostly, food lost its quality due to the presence of foreign matter that degrades the quality and makes the food unfit for human consumption. On the other hand, most commonly practised contamination is adulteration.  When capitalist want to increase his product, he starts to adulterate the product.

  • Almost, all foodstuff present in the market is adulterated to increase their profit. Powder products (spices, food colours), granular products (cereals, pulses, sugar), liquid products (milk, honey, sugar syrups) all are adulterated, mostly by local vendors.
  • Food adulteration decreases the quality of food and the food unhygienic to consume. Some of the products with their adulterants listed below.

Milk  –           Cane sugar, pond water, starch, cellulose, urea, formalin

Spices  –      Plant gums, leaf powder, artificial seeds, argemone seeds, weeds

Chemical Contamination      

chemical food contamination

These are most commonly added during the processing or manufacturing of food products. Chemical contaminant includes unapproved stabilizers, colours, flavours, stabilizers, emulsifier, sweeteners, antioxidants and preservatives. Food industries mostly have these type of contamination. These contaminants cause serious health outbreaks which may lead to the death of the consumer. Every year serious harmful effects were recorded because of such contaminations.

  • Sometimes, local vendors add more dosage of chemical as recommended by the authorities to make the final product more delicious, which contaminates it.
  • Agrochemicals used by farmers such as pesticides residues contaminate the product.

Case Study of a Chemical Contaminant

5 years back in Harare, Zimbabwe. A 7-year-old girl buys guava from a man who directly takes them from the farm. The girl after eating suddenly dies due to pesticides residues on guava.

Some of the major chemical contaminants found in food products are agrochemicals, pesticides, mycotoxins, phthalates, bisphenol A, perchlorate.

Biological Contamination

Microorganisms are the main sources of biological contamination. Microorganisms are everywhere. They are in the air, in food, in our body and even the air we breath also full of germs. Bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites are the biological contaminants. During improper handling, pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) spread onto the food. Even a single bacterium can increase its population to 2 million in 8 hours.

  • Salmonella is a famous pathogen that makes food unfit for human consumption. L.mycotogenes introduces listerioses in food. So, biologically it is very important to handle your product in a hygienic way. otherwise, it will lead you towards death.
  • All kitchen working persons should ensure that their food should be free from the pathogen. Handling food in a conductive environment will help to keep food free of pathogens.

Biological food Contamination can reduce by:

  • Wash your hand thoroughly with soap
  • Wear a clean apron to avoid cross-contamination with your clothes
  • Avoid wearing jewellery because germs can harbour in such commodities
  • Store food in the refrigerator under recommended conditions after washing
  • Cook food thoroughly
  • Avoid food storage between 6 to 55 Celsius  because this is the most loving temperature
washing hands to stop food contamination
Washing hands


The main objective of food is to provide nutritional support to the body. But, when foreign matter enters the food intentionally or unintentionally. it results in health outbreaks. Quality should be the top priority of food manufacturers. They should follow guidelines of food regulating authorities. Physical, chemical and biological contaminants challenge the safety factor of food. The contaminants from any source can give birth to pathogens, that can be responsible for food borne diseases.

A pack of well researched and true information has been provided here. To make the food secure or to safe it from contaminants, one must have to follow the recommended guidelines. Physical, chemical and biological contaminants are the main categories in which a food can be contaminated. By eliminating inappropriate practices, we can achieve food safety and this step can be a path towards food security.

to read my article on top 10 instant noodles globally

to read my article on 10 most expensive food globally

and read my article on kitchen hygiene and how kitchen persons contaminate food