SafeFood Lesson 1 Page 6

Introduction Lesson 1
What's
bugging
you?
Lesson 2
What are
Consumer
Control
Points?
Lesson 3
Where is the
DANGER
ZONE?
Lesson 4
Who is
FAT TOM?

Contact
Glossary
References

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Food Safety Lessons Introduction Lesson One: Whats Bugging You? Lesson Two: What are Consumer Control Points? Lesson Three: Where is the Danger Zone? Lesson Four: Who is FAT TOM? Food Safety References Contact the Food Safety Project Team

Lesson One: What's bugging you?
(continued)


What is the greatest threat to food safety?
Of all the microorganisms, bacteria are the greatest threat to food safety. Bacteria are single-celled, living organisms that can grow quickly at favorable temperatures. Some bacteria are useful. We use them to make foods like cheese, buttermilk, sauerkraut, pickles, and yogurt. Other bacteria are infectious disease-causing agents called pathogens, that use the nutrients found in potentially hazardous foods to multiply.

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Some bacteria are not infectious on their own, but when they multiply in potentially hazardous food, they eject toxins that poison humans when the food is eaten.

Food handling practices are risky when they allow harmful bacteria to contaminate and grow in food. If you touch a food during preparation, you may transfer several thousand bacteria to its surface.

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Under the right conditions, bacteria can double every 10 to 30 minutes. A single bacterium will double with each division—two become four, four become eight, and so on. A single cell can become billions in 10 to 12 hours.

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Copyright 1997-2007 Food Safety and Quality Project, Iowa State University Extension