Many microorganisms are capable of causing infections and illness in people. These include bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa.

Some of these microorganisms represent a particular threat to the community because they are easily spread from one person to another and they can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections.

Some microorganisms are dangerous because many people may be infected from the same environmental source. For example, many people can be affected through the ingestion of a contaminated food item.

Other serious microorganisms which are actually more difficult to transmit might still cause high levels of community concern and social disruption just by their reputation.

Food safety threats

NSW Health and NSW Food Authority have joint responsibility for investigations into foodborne illness in NSW:

  • NSW Health has responsibility to detect clusters of illness and undertake epidemiological investigations
  • The NSW Food Authority’s Compliance, Investigation and Enforcement Branch undertakes all food business-related investigations and business sampling.