9.4.5  Chemical food poisoning

There are two main types of chemical poisoning. One is caused by chemical products and the other by heavy metals.


Common sources of chemical contamination of foods are pesticides including insecticides, herbicides and rodenticides, and detergents, or their containers. When these chemical products find their way into food they can cause poisoning. There are also many cases of intentional chemical poisoning in Ethiopia when people drink these chemicals to commit suicide. Many people die from chemical poisoning if they do not go to healthcare facilities in time.

Heavy metals

Metals cause poisoning when foods are stored in faulty or damaged containers made of materials like tin, lead, copper and zinc. These metals can dissolve in acid foods such as fruit juices and produce fast-acting poisons in the body when ingested. Possible sources of contamination include residues migrating into foods from soldered cans, leaching from utensils, contaminated water, glazed pottery, painted glassware and paints.

9.4.4  Bacterial food poisoning

9.5  General management of foodborne diseases