6 Bacteria That Cause Food Poisoning

Food is the primary source of sustenance for life and we derive energy, proteins, minerals, vitamins and a whole range of essential nutrients from the food we eat.

However, owing to the fact that food can get contaminated and cause various health problems, it is necessary to learn more about it. Educating oneself about food poisoning and the bacterial agents that cause food poisoning is one way to avoid getting sick from contaminated food. These article aims to shed light on 6 bacteria that cause food poisoning due to contaminated food.

6 Bacteria That Cause Food Poisoning

6 Bacteria That Cause Food Poisoning

Various kinds of bacteria can cause food poisoning however; Clostridium Perfringens, Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, Campylobacter and Vibrio Vulnificus are the 6 most common culprits. Let us know about these 6 bacteria that cause food poisoning.

Clostridium Perfringens (C.Perfringens)

Many foods are inhabited by small clusters of bacteria known as Clostridium Perfringens. It inhabits soil and the manure of cattle and droppings of poultry, it is found in the intestines of animals and humans and also in sewage. It is known for producing heat resistant spores which often means that cooking has no effect on the spores of these variation of bacterium. While cooking will eliminate bacteria, their spores can germinate once food is cooked and cooled for a while. Hence, it is one of the commonest 6 bacteria that cause food poisoning.

Clostridium Perfringens can cause food poisoning that results in traumatic symptoms like diarrhea and abdominal pain. It is known to cause vomiting and nausea in limited cases. Once ingested; the bacteria release toxins into the host gut, which cause painful and uncomfortable symptoms. As the spores of these bacteria can survive cooking and are likely to germinate once food is cooled, it is advisable to refrigerate leftovers. These bacteria mostly cause food poisoning through foods like pots of stews and soups with meat included that is cooked slowly and in large quantities. Reheating food before consumption is a good idea which is why it is good idea to reheat cold soups and stews at 75°C to 100°C before eating.

Clostridium Perfringens (C.Perfringens)-Bacteria That Cause Food Poisoning


Salmonella is a popular one of the 6 bacteria that cause food poisoning. It is likely that you have been warned about salmonella poisoning through partially cooked meat and poultry which is largely true but there is much more to it. The reach of Salmonella bacteria is far and wide and definitely extends beyond uncooked meat and poultry. Salmonella bacteria can find their way into your food through raw eggs, raw meat and even through packaged cold. The bacteria can also get attached to fresh produce and dairy. Food poisoning due to these bacteria result in symptoms like stomach aches, cramps, chills, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Ways to avoid salmonella food poisoning is by washing all fruits and vegetables before consumption, thorough cooking of meat and poultry and only sticking to pasteurized milk and dairy products.

Salmonella-Bacteria That Cause Food Poisoning


The Listeria bacteria are yet another common of the 6 bacteria that cause food poisoning. Listeria too can find their way into your food through multiple sources like raw vegetables, fruits, milk, dairy products and precooked packaged foods like ham, bacon and sausages. They are most likely to cause food poisoning in those with a weak immune system like the elderly, babies and pregnant women. The best way to prevent food poisoning from these bacteria is to wash and clean fruits and vegetables before consumption. Additionally; heating precooked and packed foods at appropriate temperatures is a good idea. Pasteurized milk and milk products is necessary to prevent food poisoning from these bacteria.

Listeria-Bacteria That Cause Food Poisoning

Escherichia coli (E. coli)

It is VTEC or verocytotoxin-producing E. coli that we need to be concerned about as almost all other strains of E. coli are not detrimental to our health. Verocytotoxin-producing E. coli strains are one of the important 6 bacteria that cause food poisoning and subsequent symptoms like diarrhea. These bacteria can find their way into your diet through raw juices and milk, fruits and vegetables and even ground beef as E-coli strains are found in the intestines of cattle. Thorough cooking and washing of food is your best protection against detrimental E. coli strains. Pasteurized juices and milk is essential to prevent food poisoning from these bacteria.

Escherichia coli (E. coli)-Bacteria That Cause Food Poisoning


While other bacteria are well-known, Campylobacter too holds a distinct place in top 6 bacteria that cause food poisoning. While they are primarily found in poultry meats; these bacteria can make their way into your diet through untreated water, unpasteurized milk and milk products and even red meats. Campylobacter bacteria result in mild to severe food poisoning with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain with cramps. Thorough washing and cooking is necessary to prevent food poisoning from this bacteria through poultry and red meats. Pasteurized milk and dairy with treated water are safe bets.

Campylobacter-Bacteria That Cause Food Poisoning

Vibrio Vulnificus in Raw Oysters

If seafood and shellfish are the delicacies you enjoy eating; you might benefit from awareness of Vibrio Vulnificus. These bacteria inhabit the shells of edible shellfish variations and are eliminated with thorough cooking. They too are one of the common 6 bacteria that cause food poisoning.

Vibrio Vulnificus in Raw Oysters-Bacteria That Cause Food Poisoning


It is important to note that other forms of bacteria exist that can enter your gut, through food. Some of them may be harmful and cause food poisoning. Cooking and washing fruits, vegetables, meats, egg and poultry can protect you against most food contaminants; bacterial, viral or toxic. The above given 6 bacteria that cause food poisoning are the commonest ones, but proper food handling, appropriate cooking and storing of food can help prevent such problems.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 15, 2023

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