Bacteria are small, fast-growing organisms that can be good or bad for health and food. For example, when you eat yogurt, yogurt contains healthy bacteria that can help your digestive tract. On the other hand, when you have a picnic, the high temperature makes your food hot, and bacteria multiply at a rapid rate. When you eat these foods, you will cause disease. Because bacteria multiply every 20 to 30 minutes, it is important to practice proper food preparation and cooking techniques to prevent people from getting sick.
Bacterial division in each bacterium is the genetic information needed by the bacterium to produce new replicating bacteria. This allows bacteria to multiply. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, bacteria can double in 20 to 30 minutes, that is, one bacteria becomes two, then two become four, and ultimately form millions of cells in a few hours. Although food may contain millions of cells, only 10 E. coli bacteria can make you sick, so even a small amount of bacteria can be harmful. The size of
is difficult to determine the harmfulness of bacteria in food, because they are microscopic. The FDA estimates that about a million bacteria can grow in a square inch. Common bacteria in food include Salmonella enteritidis, Staphylococcus aureus, Botulinum toxin and Listeria monocytogenes. These bacteria can grow rapidly. At 1 p.m., there may be 1000 kinds of bacteria on one kind of food. The Department of Health in Bethel, Connecticut, says that if bacteria grow every 20 minutes, the number of bacteria could exceed 32 million in five hours.