Which are the food poisoning bacteria and how do they cause disease?

Which are the food poisoning bacteria and how do they cause disease?


There are many different food borne bacteria which are able to cause severe illness and in some extreme cases, death. The food-poisoning bacteria occur mainly in under cooked foods, primarily meats and dairy products such as milk and even non-chlorinated water. The most common food poisoning bacteria are; E-coli, Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella spp and Campylobacter jejuni.


The food borne bacteria present in/on the product (undercooked meat, unpasteurised milk, raw meat) is swallowed by the consumer and host organism. In the lining of the intestines, the bacteria multiply, which is known as the incubation period which can vary from a few hours to several days. The bacteria destroy the epithelial cells by outnumbering them or by the bacteria secreting toxins. The toxins can be transported to the other parts of the body by being absorbed in the bloodstream. Therefore the symptoms that the host feels usually originate from the oesophagus and stomach. The symptoms caused by the food borne bacteria are diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, fever and many more. The disease of the bacteria are: Clostridium perfringens = perfringens food poisoning, Salmonella spp = Salmonellosis, E-Coli = hemorrhagic colitis; these can be prevented by proper cooking methods – if the meat is cooked, but in some cases the bacteria can produce heat resistant spores, such as in the case of Clostridium perfringens. Food should also be kept refrigerated, as bacteria can multiply in warm, moist conditions.




  • Food standards agency; food poisoning bacteria, http://www.accepta.com/environmental-water-wastewater-knowledge/pathogen-control-lnowledge/297-food-poisoning-bacteria-salmonella-listeria-e-coli-0157-compylobacter.2014.
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