Bacteria: Cooked vs Raw Food
Country: United States
Date: November 2005
Which food collects more bacteria, cooked or raw food?
The cooking process kills bacteria. So if you take some raw hamburger
and some cooked hamburger and set them side-by-side, the cooked meat
will have no living bacteria on it whereas the raw meat will have living
bacteria. Now that the two meat samples are sitting out, though, they
will both "collect" bacteria at the same rate, as particles in the air
land on them. The raw meat starts out with more living bacteria,
though, and so it will have a larger bacterial population. The bacteria
will reproduce, and so those populations will grow on both samples, but
the raw meat, which starts with a larger population of bacteria, will
soon have a much larger population than the cooked meat.
It is also worth noting that the two samples will have quite different
populations of bacteria; the cooked meat will only have bacteria it
acquired from the immediate surroundings, whereas the raw meat will have
bacteria that it carried all the way from the meat processing plant.
Finally, we should point out that the primary benefit of refrigeration
is to slow down bacterial growth and reproduction. Bacterial
populations will still grow in the refrigerator, but much more slowly
than at room temperature.
Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives
Update: June 2012