Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating foods that have harmful germs in them, like bacteria, parasites, and viruses.

These germs are mostly found in raw meat, chicken, fish, and eggs, but they can spread to any type of food. They can also grow on food that is left out on counters or outdoors or is stored too long before you eat it.

Sometimes food poisoning happens when people don't wash their hands before they touch food.

Most of the time, food poisoning is mild and goes away after a few days. But some types of food poisoning may be more serious, and you may need to see a doctor.

Current as of: November 14, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease