food·​borne ˈfüd-ˌbȯrn How to pronounce foodborne (audio)
variants or food-borne
: caused by food contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms or toxic substances
foodborne illness
Most foodborne outbreaks of norovirus illness are likely to arise though direct contamination of food by a food handler immediately before its consumption.Robert Benziker
Bacteria called campylobacter contaminate most chickens that go to market in the United States, and the bacteria are the most common cause of food-borne illness, bringing on some two million cases of food poisoning in the country annually.Philip J. Hilts
also : relating to or being a microorganism or toxin contaminating food
Anderson and others believe that use of the drugs in healthy animals is playing a role in changing the very nature of foodborne bacteria, creating strains that are resistant to antibiotics used in human medicine. Jennifer Ackerman
Listeria is a big problem for makers of ready-to-eat products such as deli meats, soft cheeses and potato salad. The microorganism continues to grow in refrigerated food, making it far harder to control than other types of food-borne pathogens, such as salmonella. Scott Kilman

Examples of foodborne in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The raw milk may also contain other dangerous bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses, such as Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli, the report added. Shiv Sudhakar, Fox News, 15 Oct. 2023 Washing or rinsing a turkey can spread bacteria that can cause foodborne illness far beyond your sink. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 7 Oct. 2023 Over the past 30 years of outbreaks of foodborne illness, Detwiler said the ones that impacted or killed the most people involved bagged lettuce, sprouts, cantaloupe, undercooked meats, recalled foods, and anything that smells or looks off. Cathy Cassata, Health, 30 Sep. 2023 Similar to humans, cats can get foodborne illness – such as salmonella or E. Coli – when consuming raw eggs, reports Hill's Pet. Olivia Munson, USA TODAY, 30 Aug. 2023 There are several viruses that cause foodborne illness, too. Good Housekeeping, 19 Aug. 2023 The Daily Harvest fiasco got special attention because people were reporting their problems on social media, but foodborne illness is far from unusual in the United States. The Politics Of Everything, The New Republic, 7 Sep. 2022 Practicing Proper Food Safety The good news is there are many ways to keep yourself and your family safe from foodborne pathogens in your favorite dips and spreads. Rebecca Jaspan, Mph, Rd, Cdn, Cdces, Health, 26 June 2023 But just 23% said their policy specified the five symptoms of foodborne illness workers needed to report to their manager including vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, sore throat with fever and lesions with pus. Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 30 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'foodborne.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1898, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of foodborne was in 1898

Dictionary Entries Near foodborne

Cite this Entry

“Foodborne.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: caused by food contaminated with harmful microorganisms or toxic substances
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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