29.1 Concept Check
Foods often spoil due to contamination by microorganisms. Foods vary considerably in their sensitivity to microbial growth, depending on their nutrient content and water content. Individual categories of food have specific spoilage patterns and spoilage organisms. Many food spoilage microorganisms are also potential pathogens.
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29.2 Concept Check
Food microbiology deals with methods for limiting spoilage and the growth of disease-causing microorganisms in food during processing and storage. Foods vary considerably in their sensitivity to microbial growth, depending on their nutrient content, water availability, and pH. The growth of microorganisms in perishable foods can be controlled by refrigeration, freezing, canning, pickling, dehydration, chemical preservation, or irradiation.
29.3 Concept Check
Foodborne diseases include food poisoning resulting from the action of microbial toxins and food infections due to the growth and invasion of microorganisms in the body. Specialized techniques are used to sample microorganisms in food.
29.4 Concept Check
Staphylococcal food poisoning results from the ingestion of preformed enterotoxin A, a superantigen produced by Staphylococcus aureus when growing in foods. In many cases, S. aureus cannot be cultured from the contaminated food.
29.5 Concept Check
Clostridium food poisoning results from ingestion of toxins produced by microbial growth in foods or due to microbial growth and toxin production in the body. Perfringens food poisoning is quite common, and is usually a self-limiting gastrointestinal disease. Botulism is a rare but very serious disease, with significant mortality.
29.6 Concept Check
Salmonellosis, an extremely common foodborne infection, results from infection with ingested Salmonella spp. Salmonella can enter the food chain via production animals or food handlers.
29.7 Concept Check
Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli can cause serious food infections. Specific measures, such as radiation of ground beef, have been implemented to curb the spread of these pathogens.
29.8 Concept Check
Campylobacter infection is by far the most prevalent foodborne bacterial infection. Though usually self-limiting, this disease affects nearly 2 million people per year.
29.9 Concept Check
Listeria monocytogenes is ubiquitous in the environment. In normal individuals, Listeria causes no infection. However, in immunocompromised individuals, Listeria can cause serious disease and even death.
29.10 Concept Check
Over 200 different infectious agents cause foodborne disease. Viruses cause the vast majority of foodborne illnesses. A number of other bacteria, parasites, and prions also cause foodborne illnesses.