Food is very important for living beings like animals and humans. So, anything related to this food is a matter of concern. Food pollution is a very important topic in pollution.
Food pollution simply means the presence of any toxic chemical or biological contaminants like bacteria and viruses in food or associated with food which are not found in food and doesn’t belong to that food or material.
Reasons and causes of food pollution are :
- Cultivating or growing food in polluted land/soils (specially soils polluted with cadmium/nitrates/Per chlorates/Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)/dioxins and Polybrominated Diphenyl ethers).
- Using polluted water in food cultivation or growing (waters polluted with arsenic, mercury and various other microbial contaminants).
- Using the contaminated water in irrigation of the food and it might be fruits, crops and vegetables.
- Growing the food in a polluted area which has harmful chemicals or elements in its air (air polluted with (137Caesium, 90Strontium, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ).
- Using bad fertilizers.
- Poor food packaging and processing.
- Bad food filtration system.
- Flaw in processing/cooking equipment etc.
Effects of food pollution are many. Most of them are discussed here :
- Gastrointestinal/Digestive problems with appearing symptoms like as: Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea (due to contamination of coli in food), amebiasis, Giardiasis etc.
- Nervous system can be damaged and effects like memory and learning problems may occur especially in children and infants for the consumption of food containing organophosphate pesticides. Organophosphate is considered as a neurotoxin chemical.
- Per chlorate can cause thyroid dysfunction. Food contaminated with per chlorate has been recorded and reports found thyroid problems and metabolism problems.
- Pollutants consumption for long time can cause cancer like diseases. Many carcinogenic chemicals may pollute food which may contribute to cancer development later on in life.