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Foodborne illness usually arises from improper handling, preparation, or [[food storage]]. Good [[hygiene]] practices before, during, and after food preparation can reduce the chances of contracting an illness. There is a general consensus in the public health community that regular hand-washing is one of the most effective defenses against the spread of foodborne illness. The action of monitoring food to ensure that it will not cause foodborne illness is known as 'pop''[[food safety]]'''. Foodborne disease can also be caused by a large variety of toxins that affect the environment. For foodborne illness caused by chemicals, see [[Food contaminants]].
Foodborne illness can also be caused by [[pesticide]]s or [[
Several foods can naturally contain [[toxins]], many of which are not produced by bacteria. Plants in particular may be toxic; animals which are naturally poisonous to eat are rare. In evolutionary terms, animals can escape being eaten by fleeing; plants can use only passive defenses such as poisons and distasteful substances, for example [[capsaicin]] in [[chili pepper]]s and pungent [[sulfur]] compounds in [[garlic]] and [[onion]]s. Most animal poisons are not synthesised by the animal, but acquired by eating poisonous plants to which the animal is immune, or by bacterial action.
* [[Ciguatera poisoning]]
Every year there are an estimated 76 million foodborne illnesses in the [[United States]] (26,000 cases for 100,000 inhabitants), 2 million in the [[United Kingdom]] (3,400 cases for 100,000 inhabitants) and 750,000 in [[France]] (1,220 cases for 100,000 inhabitants).
|+ Causes of foodborne illness in [[France]]<ref>
|+ Causes of death by foodborne illness in [[France]]
! !! Cause !! Annual !! Rate<br><small>(per 100,000 inhabitants)</small>