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Food poisoning

If food is kept poorly preserved in damp and warm conditions, micro-organisms grow and multiply. If we consume them, they can make us very ill. Five of the major villains are:


Quite small numbers of this micro-organism can make you ill. It is the commonest form of food poisoning and can be found in raw meat, poultry and unpasteurised milk.

Bacillus ceres

This micro-organism produces a pathogen that is not easily destroyed by cooking. It often causes food poisoning from rice and pasta.

Staphylococcus aureus

The second commonest cause of food poisoning in the UK. Staphylococcus aureus can cause death in babies, the sick and the elderly. It is in the gut of farm animals and can be transferred to the meat during slaughter. It is found in eggs, and also on pets.

Escherichia coli 0157

A strain of E.coli. As few as 10 cells can cause illness and even death. It is found in farm animals and can affect you if you eat undercooked meat, or cooked meat that has been contaminated by raw meat.

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