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Name: Demelza H.
Status: Student
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 

I was wondering what sort of bacteria is in meat and if you could tell me the best media to use and with food poisoning cases have been in the last five years and what bacteria caused it.

There are numerous bacteria found on all surfaces including meat, but I think you are interested in bacteria that cause food illnesses. There are also many of these but the bacteria that has been causing the most interest in the last few years is a special kind of E. coli bacteria called E. coli 0:157. It gets onto meat from infected cows that are slaughtered improperly. For most people who get infected, they just get very sick with stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea, but some people get so sick they can die. When you ask about media, are you thinking of trying to culture this bacteria? I don't recommend that. But you can find a ton of information about this bacteria if you do a web search.


Dear Demelza,

A late reply due to vacation. The most common food-poisening bacteria on meat are Salmonella enterica, pathogenic E. coli, Campylobacter jejuni. There are many less common ones. The media required to grow these are really complex but a start is made on rich media plates that contain lysed blood, a nice 'meal' for meat-derived bacteria. For Campylobacter the plates must be incubated under reduced oxygen.

Have a look at the Virtual Museum of Bacteria, in the section 'food safety' you will find many links on food poisening bacteria, including from meat. Go there directly at

Trudy Wassenaar
Curator of the Virtual Museum of Bacteria

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