Encyclopedia Home / S / Staph aureus food poisoning

Staph aureus food poisoning

  • Definition

    Staph aureus food poisoning is an illness that results from eating food contaminated with a toxin produced by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Staphylococcus aureus food poisoning is often caused when a food handler contaminates food products that are served or stored at room- or refrigerator temperature. Common examples of such foods are desserts (especially custards and cream filled- or topped desserts), salads (especially those containing mayonnaise), or baked goods.

    The bacteria multiplies rapidly in the food, and a large colony of bacteria may be present without evidence of food spoilage. Risk factors include:

    • Ingestion of food prepared by a person with a skin infection (these infections commonly contain Staphylococcus aureus )
    • Ingestion of food kept at room temperature
    • Ingestion of improperly prepared food
    • Symptoms occurring in persons eating the same food.

    Symptoms usually appear within 4 to 6 hours. The disease is common in the U.S.