: either of two acute gastrointestinal disorders caused by bacteria or their toxic products: a: a rapidly developing intoxication marked by nausea, vomiting, prostration, and often severe diarrhea and caused by the presence in food of toxic products produced by bacteria (as some staphylococci) b: a less rapidly developing infection especially with salmonellas that has generally similar symptoms and that results from multiplication of bacteria ingested with contaminated food
: a gastrointestinal disturbance occurring after consumption of food that is contaminated with chemical residues (as from sprays) or food (as some fungi) that is inherently unsuitable for human consumption
Acute gastrointestinal illness from eating foods containing toxins. These toxins may be poisons that occur naturally in plants and animals, chemical contaminants, or toxic products of microorganisms. Most cases are due to bacteria (including salmonella and staphylococcus) and their toxins (including botulism). Some strains of E. coli can cause severe illness. Chemical poisons include heavy metals (seemercury poisoning), either from food or leached out from cookware by acidic foods. Food additives may have a long-term cumulative toxic effect. See alsofish poisoning; mushroom poisoning.