Foodborne Illness & Contaminants

FDA oversees the safety of domestic and imported foods, in part, through: 

  • Monitoring programs for pathogens, natural toxins, pesticides, and other contaminants

  • Assessment of potential exposure and risk

This section provides information on preventing foodborne illness and reducing health risks associated with chemical contaminants, pesticides, natural toxins, and metals.

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Protect Yourself from Foodborne Illness

Find information about buying, storing, and serving safe food. Learn more about preventing foodborne illness for those at higher risk including older adults, pregnant women, diabetics, and others.

Causes of Foodborne Illness: Bad Bug Book

Each chapter of the Bad Bug Book is about a pathogen—a bacterium, virus, or parasite—or a natural toxin that can contaminate food and cause illness. This handbook contains scientific and technical information as well as content for consumers. Learn what can make you sick and how to prevent it.

Contaminants & Adulteration

Bacteria, viruses, and parasites aren’t the only harmful things that can be found in food. This section contains information on chemical contaminants like melamine. You can also learn about pesticides, natural toxins, and metals like arsenic and mercury.

Safe Practices for Food Processes

Safe production and processing of foods is important in ensuring the safety of the world food supply. In this section, you can find reports from the Institute of Food Technologists that provide scientific review and analysis of these issues. View reports on safe practices for food processes.


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Page Last Updated: 03/25/2019
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