Pathogenic bacteria in the food industry can cause outbreaks that affect the health and safety of consumers.

Recently, an outbreak of Listeria has blown up all the alarms in the food industry. Is enough attention paid to hygiene? Are we aware of the importance it has in guaranteeing food security?

Foodborne diseases affect pregnant women and people who already have other pathologies, but they are equally harmful to the rest of the population.

Next we will review 5 very common bacteria in the industry, delving into what foods are used to “staying” and what effects they cause.

Escherichia Coli or E. Coli
Listeria Monocytogenes
Campylobacter jejuni
Salmonella
Yersinia enterocolitica
How to prevent pathogenic bacteria in the food industry?
What to do in case of biofilms?
How to eliminate pathogenic bacteria in the food industry?
Escherichia Coli or E. Coli

Where can we find it?

Escherichia Coli lives in meats, usually beef, which are either raw, or have not been cooked properly. It also lives in liquids that have not been treated, such as unpasteurized milk or contaminated water.

How does it affect us?

It causes stomach cramps or diarrhea and is especially dangerous because, sometimes, it is asymptomatic.

Listeria Monocytogenes
Where can we find it?

The great protagonist of the last weeks lives in foods already treated and ready to consume (beef, chicken, fish or unpasteurized milk). Unlike other bacteria, it is able to survive in the cold, so it can reproduce in fridges.

How does it affect us?

Listeria affects the body very differently: it can cause fever, headaches, diarrhea, etc. and it is especially dangerous in pregnant women.

Campylobacter jejuni
Where can we find it?

This bacterium is very common in the United States and is found in foods that have not been treated or that have been cooked incorrectly. We find it in raw milk, contaminated water, beef, chicken or raw fish.

How does it affect us?

It mainly affects the stomach, causing diarrhea and cramping and, sometimes, even headaches. Babies and children under one year are especially susceptible to this bacterium.

Salmonella
Where can we find it?

Salmonella, the other great known along with Listeria, lives in raw or undercooked eggs, in dairy products, beef, chicken and raw fish.

How does it affect us?

It causes diarrhea, fevers, headaches and, as with Listeria, it is especially dangerous in pregnant women.

Yersinia enterocolitica
Where can we find it?

Yersinia is present in raw meats, fish and shellfish, as well as in untreated dairy products.

How does it affect us?

It mainly affects the stomach, causing diarrhea, vomiting and pain and, although its action is immediate, it usually has a duration ranging from seven days to three weeks.

How to prevent pathogenic bacteria in the food industry?

Hygiene is a very important factor in preventing bacteria in the food industry, but it all depends on how we understand it.
And, it is not only enough to keep the surfaces clean, since the machinery and even the material used for cleaning are also potential sources of contamination.

Therefore, it is recommended to use disposable material, to constantly wash your hands to prevent the transmission of bacteria from one surface to another and to separate and maintain correctly those products that can contaminate each other.
What to do in case of biofilms?

Any of the bacteria we have exposed can come together in colonies and develop resistance to disinfectants. These are called biofilms.

Biofilms are just as dangerous as any bacteria in their natural state, but with the addition that they are more difficult to detect.
They are usually installed in cracks or corners of difficult access to protect and continue to contaminate food.

It is recommended to use biofilm prevention products, such as BioFinder, on a regular basis. This investment can help us avoid major problems related to food security.

How to eliminate pathogenic bacteria in the food industry?

Disinfectants, which should always be applied after cleaning, are the most widely used method for the elimination of pathogenic bacteria in the food industry.

But before applying it we must study the level of bacterial contamination of each surface. And, if we apply the most powerful disinfectant on surfaces with a very low bacterial load, the microorganisms will create resistance and become immune to the disinfectants.

In the case of biofilms, the treatment requires other types of products. Specifically, enzymatic cleaners.
And last but not least, we must remember that both bacteria and biofilms can be found anywhere; from a CIP circuit to the cracks of a meat cutting board.