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FAQ (Bacteria and Viruses)

Q: What are bacteria (germs)?

They are microorganisms that are small enough to be invisible to the naked eye. They are also called germs.

Q: What is the difference between bacteria and viruses?

Bacteria can self-propagate as long as they have nutrients, but viruses cannot multiply without parasitizing an organism’s cells.

Q: What are total viable cells?

This indicates the number of “living” bacteria, regardless of type.

Q: What are coliforms?

This is a generic term for bacteria that are widely distributed in human and animal feces, soil, etc. Coliforms are considered an indicator of the level of food hygiene. Since coliforms are sensitive to heat, they are also used as an indicator to confirm whether food is sufficiently cooked and free of cross-contamination after cooking.

Q: What is the difference between coliforms and E. coli?

Coliforms are “bacteria that break down lactose to produce acid and gas,” and are widely distributed in nature, including soil, air, and water.
E. coli is a type of bacteria belonging to the coliform group and is found in the intestines of humans and animals. If E. coli is detected in food, it means that the food is contaminated with fecal matter.

Q: What is Staphylococcus aureus?

These bacteria survive in large numbers on the skin and nasal passages of humans and animals, and the toxins produced by the bacteria cause food poisoning.

Q: What is salmonella spp.?

Widely distributed and found in the intestinal tracts of animals such as chickens, pigs, and cows, as well as in rivers and sewers, even small amounts of these food-poisoning bacteria can infect and cause severe symptoms.

Q: What types of bacteria adhere to food?

This is mainly determined by the raw material (ingredients). For vegetables, it could be bacteria that reside in the soil; for seafood, it could be bacteria in the water; and for meat, it could be bacteria that live in pasture soil or in feces in barn stalls. Bacteria that are commonly found in water at factories and on human skin during cooking can also adhere to food.