What is Staphylococcus aureus?

Staphylococcus aureus is a spherical bacteria capable of producing a heat-stable toxin that causes illness in humans. Foods that are often associated with staphylococcal Animated Staph

food poisoning include meat and meat products, poultry and egg products, milk and dairy products, and egg or tuna salad.  Foods that require considerable handling during preparation and are kept at slightly elevated temperatures after preparation are frequently involved.

Staphylococcus exist in air, dust, sewage, water, milk, equipment used in the preparation of food, environmental surfaces, humans and animals. They are present in the nasal passages and throats and on the hair and skin of 50 percent or more of healthy persons.

Although food handlers are usually the main source of food contamination in food poisoning outbreaks, equipment and environmental surfaces can also be sources of contamination with Staphylococcus aureus.

The onset of symptoms of staphylococcal food poisoning can be fast and furious, depending on the individual's susceptibility to the toxin, the amount of food eaten, and the individual's general health.

More Information on Staphylococcus:

  • Article History
    • Revision Date: 6/22/2010

Food Safety Tip of the Day

Toss the towel

Paper towel roll

Damp towels and sponges provide a prime environment for pathogen and other bacteria to grow. Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. When done, throw away the towel. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

Source: Partnership for Food Safety Education


Foodborne Pathogen of the Day

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