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What Are The Bacteria/Microorganisms Found In Food Poisoning

Updated on August 24, 2014
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Lady Rain works as a daytime stock trader and writes about crafts and hobbies. She likes travelling and making papercraft models.

Bacteria exist everywhere
Bacteria exist everywhere | Source

Where are bacteria found?

Bacteria are microorganisms that exist everywhere. They are present in the air, on the ground, on humans, on animals, on food and water.

Foods that are raw like red meat, poultry, shellfish and vegetables all have bacteria. Humans carry bacteria on the inside and outside of their bodies.

All animals, insects, birds, pets and pests have harmful bacteria on their bodies, saliva and their droppings.

Stale and rotting food, kitchen scraps and leftover food carry bacteria.

Bacteria grow best when the conditions are right, like when the temperature is warm, there is moisture, there is oxygen and there is food to feed the bacteria. If all these conditions exist, the food poisoning bacteria in contaminated food will grow very rapidly. Within several hours, bacteria can multiply to over millions of them. This will certainly bring food poisoning to a dangerous level.

Flies carry salmonella bacteria
Flies carry salmonella bacteria

What causes food poisoning?


The salmonella bacteria are found in intestines of humans, animals, pests, flies and birds.

Foods contaminated with salmonella are most common in raw meat, poultry, sausages, dried egg powder and cooked meats. Adequate cooking will destroy these bacteria.

Salmonella causes food poisoning with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, stomach pains and diarrhoea. The symptoms generally occur between 6 to 48 hours after consuming contaminated food. Salmonella poisoning can be fatal to the very young, the sick or elderly.

Bacteria can be found in contaminated dairy products
Bacteria can be found in contaminated dairy products

Staphylococcus aureus

The staphylococcus aureus bacteria are present in nasal passages, boils, pimples, mouth and infected wounds.

Contaminated dairy products, cream based and baked foods carry these bacteria. Normal cooking does not destroy the toxin of the bacteria in the food.

Symptoms of food poisoning caused by staphylococcus are vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea. These symptoms occur within 2 to 4 hours after consuming contaminated food.

Esherichia (also known as E. Coli)

E. Coli bacteria are found in manure and soil. The bacteria can be passed from one person to another and also found in undercooked food like ground beef, vegetables and unpasteurised fruit juices.

Food contaminated with E. Coli will cause stomach pain, cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea for several days.

Droppings of birds have dangerous bacteria
Droppings of birds have dangerous bacteria

Listeria monocytogenes

Listeria monocytogenes is found in dust, water, birds, fish, animals and insects. Contaminated milk products, cheese, pate and smoked fish have these bacteria.

Food poisoning caused by listeria monocytogenes can be fatal to those affected. It can cause miscarriage or stillbirth in pregnant women.

Contaminated seafood can cause serious food poisoning
Contaminated seafood can cause serious food poisoning

Vibrio parahaemolyticus

Vibrio parahaemolyticus is found in contaminated coastal and inlet waters. Seafood and shellfish harvested from contaminated waters carry these bacteria.

Those who have eaten food contaminated with vibrio parahaemolyticus will experience severe stomach pains, fever, vomiting and watery diarrhoea. The symptoms generally occur within 12 to 36 hours after eating food contaminated with these bacteria.

Bacteria is common in raw meat
Bacteria is common in raw meat

Clostridium perfringens

Clostridium perfringens lives in the soil, dirt and dust. The clostridium perfringens bacteria are commonly found in raw meat and meat dishes which have been reheated.

These bacteria cause diarrhoea and nausea which occurs within 9 to 15 hours.

Food like this can cause food poisoning due to unhygenic conditions
Food like this can cause food poisoning due to unhygenic conditions

Bacillus cereus

The bacillus cereus bacteria are found in cereals and rice. Foods like rice dishes and vanilla custards become contaminated when spores from these bacteria are present and start to multiply rapidly.

Food poisoning occurs after a person consumes contaminated rice dishes. The toxin in the rice causes vomiting and stomach pain within 2 to 7 hours. For cereal products, symptoms occur after 12 hours.

Bacteria can multiply quickly in food with dairy products
Bacteria can multiply quickly in food with dairy products


Campylobacter bacteria are found in animals and poultry. Foods that are commonly contaminated with these bacteria are milk products, poultry, meat, seafoods and oysters harvested from polluted waters.

Contaminated food causes vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pains and nausea. These symptoms appear within 48 to 120 hours.

Effects of food poisoning

What are the effects of food poisoning?

Every year there are over 5 million cases of reported food poisoning in Australia. For some people food poisoning is treated as a serious case and it can have a tremendous effect on their health. In very rare cases, some resulted in death.


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