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Poverty in Poor Areas Causes Food Poisoning


Food poisoning is basically an illness that is brought about by eating food that is contaminated. Food can be contaminated by bacteria or even a virus. Some symptoms of food poisoning include abdominal pains, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting and body weakness. In most cases it is usually not very serious and the affected person can stay home and get well. One unique thing about food poisoning is that it is not usually very common. However, it is more prevalent in poor areas. There is a lot of evidence that shows that poverty in poor areas results in food poisoning. Understanding how poverty in poor areas results in food poisoning is important because it can help in also understanding how to deal with the problem.

Summary of Sources

To illustrate how poverty in poor areas causes food poisoning, there are six different sources that are used. These sources all agree and support the proposition that poverty in poor areas results in food poisoning. In addition, four other sources in this paper attempt to disapprove the idea that poverty in poor areas results in food poisoning. However, a counterargument of the same id provided.


Larsen in her article Children in Poverty Face Greater Food Safety Risks shows how children in poor areas are in greater risks as far as safety of food is concerned. She argues that in poor areas, children most likely do not have choice over what food they get and how safe and nutritious that food is. In most cases, children in poor areas may end up eating food that was cooked several days ago and has started go bad. Moreover, sanitation among children and also adults in poor areas may not be considered to be very important and as a result, there is a greater risk of getting food poisoning. In her article, Larsen shares findings of a report that was done by the Consumer Federation of America:

“A new report by the Consumer Federation of America finds that children from low-income families are at greater risk for foodborne illness and unintentional product injuries than children from higher-income families.”

In the article The Most Common Culprits of Food Poisoning, Vasudeva coves how different foods are most likely to result in food poisoning. She also shows how the probability of getting food poisoning increases among these foods as poverty increases. For example, consider leafy greens, they are of the most common culprits of food poisoning. In poor areas, leafy greens are of the easily available foods as they can be farmed locally or bought from local shops. Leafy greens can easily result in food poisoning because they can be eaten raw or after being cooked lightly. Secondly, people in poor areas may not make sure of proper sanitation in terms of cleaning these foods. In some poor areas, leafy greens are grown using sewage water hence food poisoning may be common. Other foods such as raw eggs, dairy products and sea food also result in food poisoning in poor areas.

“Leafy vegetables are one of the most common culprits of food poisoning. According to a report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, spinach and lettuce are the top sources of food poisoning. Leafy greens are vulnerable to contamination because they may be eaten raw or lightly cooked, especially in salads.”

In a study done for the Foods Standards Agency, Lyndhurst examines some of the problems associated with food poverty one of them being food poisoning. Lyndhurst argues that there is a very close relationship between food poverty and food poisoning. His argument is that people experiencing food poverty go for cheap and less nutritious foods which are more likely to result in food poisoning. In his article he writes:

The report provides evidence that more and more people in Northern Ireland are struggling to afford to buy food. At the same time, evidence is presented that although many people in poverty or suffering economic hardship are still buying food, they are buying cheaper and less nutritious foods.”

Another evidence of how poverty results in food poisoning, is a case in Mauritius of how children got food poisoning from the food served in school. Dans in the article CHILDREN AND POVERTY – The Right to Food examines how the state’s response to absenteeism in school as a result of poverty and lack of food ended up in food poisoning affecting hundreds of leaners. Dans writes:

“Many children, especially those in deprived areas often go to school empty stomach or do not attend school at all. The government tried to address the problem by providing free school meals. While this may reduce absenteeism, there is no guarantee of educational success and getting out of the poverty trap. Moreover, it seems that the State does not have the necessary competencies to effectively implement a food scheme for poor children. The case of the recent food poisoning speaks volumes.”


According to Health Poverty Action, poverty is not necessarily a cause of food poisoning. The argument is food poisoning and poor health in general results in poverty. However, I think that poverty is to blame for food poisoning and not the other way round. This is because food poisoning only exists for a few days and just that period alone cannot be responsible for poverty. Therefore, poverty in poor areas results in food poisoning but food poisoning in poor areas alone cannot be the reason for poverty.

“Poverty is both a cause and consequence of poor health. Poverty increases the chances of poor health. Poor health in turn traps communities in poverty.”

In the book Practical Ethics For Food Professionals, Clark and Riston argue that it is not poverty that causes food poisoning but it is how food is handled that results in food poisoning. In my opinion, though it may not necessarily be directly, poverty plays a great role towards food poisoning. As much as dealing with food in a sanitary way can help to avoid food poisoning, poverty still plays a role in contributing to food poisoning.


In summary, it is evident that poverty in poor areas results in food poisoning. People living in poor areas face a greater risk of food poisoning as far as food safety is concerned because of the sanitation and the foods that are readily available. Foods such as leafy greens, dairy products and sea foods are some of the most notorious culprits for food poisoning. Therefore, there is a very strong relationship between poverty in poor areas and food poisoning. Poverty in the poor areas results in food poisoning. As such, effective measures to deal with poverty can be adopted in order to deal with food poisoning in the long run. In addition, proper sanitation and being conscious one one’s nutrition can also be helpful in avoiding and dealing with food poisoning.

Works cited

Clark, Peter & Ritson Christopher. Practical Ethics For Food Professionals. 2013

Dans, Paru. CHILDREN AND POVERTY – The Right to Food! Le Mauricien. 2013. Accessed 8 November 2016.

Health Poverty Action. Key Facts Poverty and Poor Heath. No Date.

Larsen, Linda. Children in Poverty Face Greater Food Safety Risks. Food Poisoning Bulletin. 2013, Accessed 8 November 2016.

Lyndhurst, Brook. Understanding food in the context of poverty, economic insecurity and social exclusion. Food Standards Agency. 2015. Accessed 8 November 2016.

Vasudeva, Shivangana. The Most Common Culprits of Food Poisoning. Smart Cooky. 2015. Accessed 8 November 2016.


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