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Food Analysis – Pathogenic Bacteria in Food

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Carmen Lobitz
Food Analysis – Pathogenic Bacteria in Food
© Eisele/DVTA
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Repeatedly, newspaper headlines feature corporate scandals concerning germs in food. Most recently (2019) a German meat producing company had to shut down after three cases of death (and severe illness) linked to sausages contaminated with Listeria. It was proven that the production had not been hygienic.

Which are the relevant germs found in food

This is so critical for our health because certain microorganisms in our food can cause foodborne diseases (colloquial: food poisoning). There are four types of microorganisms: bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. Amongst these are pathogenic (causing diseases) and non-pathogenic (harmless) organisms.

This article will focus on the most frequently occurring pathogenic bacteria in food:

  • Salmonella: egg products, meat products, chocolate, spices
  • Staphylococcus: meat products, egg- and milk products, pasta products
  • Listeria: meat products, milk products, fish, vegetable
  • Escherichia: meat, raw milk, faecal contamination (of water)

Which characteristics do the principle foodpathogenic bacteria have?

Salmonella

Salmonella (two species: S.…

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