Bacillus species (food poisoning)

The diagnosis, management and epidemiology of Bacillus spp.

The spores of Bacillus bacteria commonly contaminate raw foods and food materials, particularly foods:

  • in contact with the soil
  • of vegetable origin

The spores of some species, especially Bacillus cereus and the Bacillus subtilis group, can:

  • survive cooking
  • subsequently germinate and grow under favourable conditions, particularly in warm kitchens

Consumption of foods in which large numbers of Bacillus spp. have grown can cause gastrointestinal illness, either by:

  • the consumption of pre-formed toxin
  • toxins produced by these bacteria in the gut

Diagnosis and management


Published 24 September 2008