9.4.4  Bacterial food poisoning

In this section, we describe two of the most common sources of food poisoning in Ethiopia, and the advice you can give to people in your community on how to avoid being poisoned by these bacterial sources of contamination.

Staphylococcal food poisoning

Staphylococcal food poisoning is caused by one of the many species of staphylococcal bacteria and is the most common and major type of food poisoning you are likely to encounter. This type of food poisoning can result from the preparation of food more than half a day in advance of needs, storage at ambient temperature, inadequate cooling or inadequate reheating. It begins with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping and diarrhoea. These can persist for days and lead to dehydration, loss of electrolytes and even death if not treated promptly. Control measures are promoting and monitoring the personal hygiene of food handlers, safe and hygienic conditions in food preparation areas, and keeping cooked or processed foods covered and in cool conditions until consumed.


Foodborne botulism is a form of food poisoning caused by Clostridium botulinum. It occurs in poorly canned foods, including home-canned foods, and honey. It is advisable not to eat food from deformed or bulging cans and not to give honey to young children.

9.4.5  Chemical food poisoning