Campylobacter species are among the leading causes of domestically acquired bacterial foodborne illness in the U.S., with nearly 1.3 million cases annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For each reported case of campylobacteriosis, 30 cases are projected to be unreported.
Coliform bacteria have been used as indicators of unsanitary conditions in food and beverage production for more than a century. Enumeration of the bacteria can help monitor the performance of food and beverage processing, equipment cleaning and sanitation, and quality of ingredients.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports few cases of Cronobacter infection each year, the germs have the ability to survive for prolonged periods in low-moisture foods. In particular, Cronobacter has been isolated from powdered infant formula, rehydrated infant formula and utensils used to prepare infant formula, making the bacterium especially risky for newborn infants.
Enterobacteriaceae is a large family of bacteria recognized as an important group in the food industry for monitoring hygiene and sanitation. Their detection and enumeration can indicate improper processing and poor sanitation in the processing environment.
Escherichia coli is a Gram-negative, coliform bacteria that is one of the most common species found in human digestive systems. Certain types of E. coli bacteria that are known to cause severe food poisoning upon consumption of contaminated food. One of these, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), produce a potent toxin called Shiga toxin (Stx). The most common STEC serotype, O157:H7, causes more than 75% of E. coli infections worldwide.
Control of Listeria species, including Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono) is vital in any food processing environment. While L. mono is not a leading cause of foodborne illness, it is however, among the leading causes of death from foodborne illness.