Food Contaminated with Endotoxin-Producing Gram-Positive Pathogens

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    foods contaminated with endotoxin-producing gram-positive pathogens

    Endotoxins: foods contaminated with endotoxin-producing gram-positive pathogens

    Why Should You Avoid Leaving Leftovers Out?

    Why do you need to avoid consuming foods that were in the “danger zone” for too long even if you plan on thoroughly reheating? Foods left in the “danger zone” (an ideal range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit where bacteria can double in population every twenty minutes) for over two hours should not be consumed, for foodborne illness-causing pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella can produce enough endotoxins in that time to make you ill if ingested.

    Endotoxins are heat stable, so you cannot reduce the risk of ingesting contaminated foods with endotoxins merely by thoroughly reheating your leftovers. It is essential to limit the growth of gram-positive foodborne illness-causing bacteria like Salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Listeria monocytogenes before it too late.

    How does foods contaminated with endotoxin-producing gram-positive pathogens make you sick?

    If endotoxins enter your bloodstream through absorption, they can trigger severe immune responses and even lead to septic shock. You can become ill from endotoxins by ingesting foods contaminated with endotoxin-producing gram-positive pathogens.

    Enteric bacteria, naturally found in the intestinal flora, include some of the infamous foodborne illness-causing pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter. Because there is competition between these harmful bacteria and beneficial bacteria, your body can manage the relatively small amounts of harmful pathogens.  When endotoxins are ingested, on the other hand, the endotoxins can absorb into the bloodstream and cause severe illness to humans.

     What Bacteria Produce Endotoxins

    Most gram-positive bacteria, like E. coli and Salmonella, synthesize endotoxins (also known as lipopolysaccharides (LSP)) on their outer membranes for structural support and protection from chemicals.

    How Do I Store My Leftovers to Keep Me Safe?

    • Do not consume leftovers in your refrigerator after 3 to 4 days.
    • Do not leave perishable foods sitting at room temperature for more than two hours.
    • Reheat leftovers to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

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