Food poisoning has been variously defined and in its broadest definition includes (1) illnesses due to preformed toxins that may cause acute gastrointestinal symptoms or acute disturbances of the central nervous system (these may be of bacterial origin or may be normal constituents of plants or animals, such as toadstools or various poisonous fishes eaten in the belief that they are foods); (2) food infections such as salmonellosis; (3) poisoning due to chemicals accidentally introduced into foods; and (4) food allergies. Such a definition has no practical value, and a strong feeling is developing that the term food poisoning should be abandoned in favor of specific etiological diagnoses. The fact remains, however, that, when several persons have sudden attacks of vomiting, abdominal pains, and diarrhea, until a specific diagnosis is made the clinician has only the term food poisoning to use as a working diagnosis. In 1951 food poisoning was
FOOD POISONING. JAMA. 1956;160(4):291–292. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960390041013
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