Clostridium botulinum produces extremely potent neurotoxins that result in the severe
neuroparalytic disease, botulism.
The enterotoxin produced by C. perfringens
during sporulation of vegetative cells in the host intestine results in
debilitating acute diarrhea and abdominal pain. Sales of refrigerated,
processed foods of extended durability including sous-vide foods, chilled
ready-to-eat meals, and cook-chill foods have increased over recent years.
Anaerobic spore-formers have been identified as the primary microbiological concerns
in these foods.
B. cereus is a normal soil inhabitant and is frequently
isolated from a variety of foods, including vegetables, dairy products and
meat. It causes a vomiting or diarrhoea illness
that is becoming increasingly important in the industrialized world. Some
patients may experience both types of illness simultaneously. B. cereus group are able to grow at refrigeration
temperatures. These variants raise concern about the safety of cooked,
refrigerated foods with an extended shelf life. B. cereus spores adhere
to many surfaces and survive normal washing and disinfection procedures. B. cereus
foodborne illness is likely underreported because of its relatively mild
symptoms, which are of short duration.