Contamination is the undesirable presence of pollutants or pathogenic micro-organisms in the environment, food, water, air or on surfaces, which may affect human health, environmental quality or food safety. This process can occur in different ways and in different contexts.

Types of contamination

  1. Biological contamination: Presence of pathogenic micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi) in food, water, air or on surfaces.
  2. Chemical contamination: The presence of harmful chemicals such as pesticides, heavy metals, toxins or drug residues in food, water or the environment.
  3. Physical contamination: The presence of foreign objects (glass, plastic, metal, etc.) in food or other products that may cause injury or illness.

Sources and routes of transmission

  • Medium: Pollution of air, water and soil by industrial, agricultural or household waste.
  • Food industry: Improper processing, handling or packaging of food.
  • Water installations: Water supply systems can be contaminated by chemical spills or untreated wastewater.
  • Direct contact: Between people or by touching contaminated surfaces.

Prevention and control

  • Hygiene standards: Observing proper personal hygiene and food processing practices.
  • Water treatment: Using purification and disinfection methods to ensure drinking water quality.
  • Monitoring and regulation: Regular testing and monitoring of the environment, food and water for contaminants.
  • Education and awareness: Informing the public and businesses about the risks of contamination and effective prevention practices.

Contamination can have serious consequences for human health and the environment, including infectious diseases, poisoning and damage to ecosystems. Prevention and control efforts are therefore essential to protect public health and the quality of the environment.