Food pollution/contamination is generally defined as an undesirable element, along with poisonous chemical or biological contaminants present in foods that are normally not expected to be present.
Food Contamination by Microscopic Organisms
Viruses are pathogens that would contribute to food infections. Hepatitis A is among the most common food-polluting viruses which cause liver damage and even death.
Parasitic protozoa are microscopic organisms that can cause food pollution by spreading in food and water. It includes microscopic worms and Anisakis that destroy the intestine or stomach.
Mold toxins come from microscopic fungi that are the major cause of contamination. The most destructive mycotoxins are aflatoxins produced by fungi strains called Aspergillus.
One of the major concerns in food contamination is the use of polluted water for irrigation purposes. This leads to heavy contamination in the final produce.
Toxic air pollutants such as sulfates, nitrates also get incorporated in the food chain from the polluted air causing health harms.
Heavy use of single use plastic has caused leaching of microplastics in soil and water eventually entering the food chain causing health harms.
Presence of anti-nutrients act as a foremost concern in healthy diet, as they tend to reduced nutrient bioavailability in the body. Major anti-nutritional factors, which are commonly found in food include amylase inhibitor, saponins, tannins, gossypol, phytic acid, lectins, goitrogens, protease inhibitors etc.
Food Contamination during Storage
There are high risks of food adulteration during storages, mainly through cross contamination, power outages causing cold storage breakdown, Improper handling during the storage etc.
Steroid Hormone contamination
Hormones injected into animals such as beef will contaminate beef meat and milk. It increases health risks in humans.
The agricultural procedure with heavy use of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides tends to have high number of contaminants in the final products.
Food contamination by GM crops
Industrial scale production of genetically modified (GM) crops, has also led to the concern of mixing between GM and non-GM varieties thus affecting the local eco system and cross contaminating the food chain.
Food contamination by Animal Carcasses
Animal carcasses are used in making animal feed which inhibit mad cow disease in animals and in return could affect the quality of meat.
There is no denying that food pollution is detrimental to human life. Fortunately, there are several countries around the world, including United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and Netherlands introducing legislation in these regards.Image by kinkates from Pixabay