Viruses are different to bacteria. Unlike bacteria that can grow on foods under various conditions, viruses do not grow in food. They rely on other cells such as those of humans, animals and plants, to be able to multiply. Viruses do this by invading specific host cells, taking over the cell’s machinery forcing it to make new virus particles then rupturing the cell to release lots of new viruses. Only a few virus particles are believed to be required to cause infections.


The most important viruses that cause foodborne disease are:

Detailed information on viruses that can be foodborne are available via the links provided.