When I took my first course in food microbiology more than 45 years ago, the lectures related to foodborne disease where only a minor part of the course. Outbreaks of foodborne disease were considered to be a problem related to the final preparation of the food in the home, restaurant, or institution. Those outbreaks that did occur were small in comparison to what we see today.

Foodborne Outbreaks through the Decades
Here’s what happened in the years since then:
• The ‘60s—Decade of Awakening. It…

Fig. 1—Five stages involved in biofilm development, as suggested by Characklis and Cooksey (1983).

Fig. 2—Conceptual model of a biofilm developed using confocal scanning electron microscopy. The model shows bacterial cells in discrete microcolonies (black dots) embedded in a polymer matrix permeated by open channels. Adapted from Anonymous (1994).

Fig. 3—Apparent symbiotic growth of Listeria monocytogenes (purple cells) and Pseudomonas fragi (pinkish orange cells) forming a biofilm. Photomicrograph taken with epifluorescent microscope. Cells were stained using modified Gram stain. From Sasahara and Zottola (1993).

Fig. 4—Scanning electron micrograph of the surface of a piece of beef. Note the microorganisms entrapped and/or attached to the meat fibers,magnification approximately 20,000. From Schwach and Zottola (1982).

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