Microbe of the Month – Golden Staph

The following is from The Bug Bible - http://www.safefood.net.au/AudienceHierarchy/TheBugBible/Default.htm

Staphylococcus aureus is important from both a medical and food perspective. S. aureus, also known as Golden staph, is resistant to some antibiotics and is responsible for many diseases in warm blooded animals. Illness is caused by the production of a toxin in the food as a result of bacterial growth. S aureus remains one of the most frequently reported causative agents of foodborne illness.

The most common source of the organism is the human body however, it can also be isolated from animals and poultry and hence can be present on raw meat . The human strains are more likely to be toxin producers. S. aureus can be part of the normal flora in the nose throat and on the skin of humans. They can also be present in skin eruptions such as boils acne and styes. Skin wounds, even minor ones, can harbour large numbers of S. aureus. Therefore the primary transfer of organisms is by the food handler.

Growth and toxin production can occur over a wide range of temperatures however, most cases occur from storage of susceptible foods at ambient temperatures for some period prior to consumption.

The organism is susceptible to heat but the toxin can show significant resistance so reheating foods in which the toxin has been allowed to develop will not necessarily inactivate the toxin.

This organism will be present in foods. Personal hygiene of the food handler is very important in preventing or minimizing transfer of the organism to foods. Handling of food should be kept to a minimum and tongs and implements used instead of hands. Infected wounds and skin eruptions should be covered.

Susceptible foods must not be stored in the temperature danger zone.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment