Types of Food Poisoning

Information from Our San Jose Food Poisoning Lawyers

Let's take a deeper look at the types of food poisoning and explore resources for dealing with foodborne illnesses or diseases. Infectious agents caused by bacteria, parasites, and viruses constitute the first common type of food poisoning. Chemical and natural toxins constitute the other types.

If you have any questions, contact Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP at (800) 900-0863.


Bacteria cause most cases of food poisoning. A 2000 survey from the United Kingdom found that campylobacter jejuni caused more than three-quarters of all cases of food poisoning reported. Other common pathogens include cafeteria bacteria, known as clostridium perfringens, salmonella, and E. coli. But this barely scrapes the bucket of potential bacterial pathogens. Other less common bacterial agents include:

  • Streptococcus
  • Brucella
  • Plesiomonas shigelloides

Bacteria also produce something called exotoxins, which also lead to food poisoning symptoms.


Studies suggest that viruses cause up to a third of all food poisoning cases in non-industrial countries. In the U.S. and other parts of the developed world, viruses may account for an even higher percentage of cases. Common viral causes include noroviruses, rotaviruses, Hepatitis A and E, and enteroviruses.


Common parasites include worms, such as tapeworm and flatworm, nematodes, and protozoa, such as giardia lamblia.

Natural and artificial toxins

Many plants evolved to produce compounds designed to poison animals -- to prevent the plants from being eaten by potential predators. Natural toxins lurk in basically all of the food groups, including fruits, vegetables, meats, and mushrooms (fungi). They include shellfish toxins, scombrotoxin, honey toxins, and alkaloids.

Poisoning from pesticides and other artificial agents

Chemicals sprayed on vegetables, fruits, and crops to prevent infestation and protect against the elements can cause food poisoning-like symptoms, particularly in vulnerable individuals. Some artificial agents may not harm some people but may cause allergic-like symptoms in others.

Identifying Your Type of Food Poisoning and Obtaining Help ASAP

Most cases of food poisoning are mild and irritating but ultimately not harmful in the long term. But a significant number of cases can cause hospitalization and even death, particularly in vulnerable populations. Some estimates suggest that 5,000 or more people every year die in the U.S. from food poisoning. To this end, seek immediate medical assistance if you experience any symptoms of poisoning.

If you suspect that another party caused your poisoning by carelessly handling your food or mislabeling it, connect immediately with our San Jose foodborne illness lawyers at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP to get a complete and free case evaluation. Contact us at (800) 900-0863 to request your free consultation now.

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