We often hear that don’t keep food out for so long or put the food in the refrigerator. This is a common practice to put your food in the fridge for storage. We know bacteria can be present in some of our foods, but do we have to protect ourselves from all the bacteria? Or the overgrowth of bacteria? It is important to understand what foods contain bacteria and what foods do not support the growth of bacteria, so let’s find out.
What Is Bacterial Growth?
Bacteria grow by the process of binary fission where mature bacteria divide into 2 daughter cells. In this way, bacteria grow and increase in number, which is called bacterial growth.
When bacteria grow in food, they cause some changes in food characteristics due to metabolic activity.
What Causes Bacterial Growth In Foods?
Bacteria grow by feeding on proteins, carbs, and fats. Four important factors affect the growth of bacteria:
Normally foods are the perfect environment for bacteria to grow but there are some foods with low pH, no moisture, and no protein, that protects them from bacterial growth. Let’s see what foods are suitable to prevent bacterial growth.
Which Foods Do Not Support Bacteria Growth?
The foods listed below do not allow bacterial growth.
High Acidic Foods
Foods that have high acidic nature do not allow bacterial growth. Foods that are mixed with a combination of vinegar, lemon, or any other acid prevents bacteria to grow in them.
Raw Vegetables and Fruits
Raw vegetables and fruits do not provide a suitable medium for bacteria to grow. They also contain certain antioxidants that fight against bacteria preventing the survival of bacteria on the vegetable.
Cooked vegetables are prone to the growth of bacteria as they provide high temperatures that are suitable for the growth of bacteria. They also contain moisture suitable for bacteria to grow.
So in this way, raw vegetables are more healthy than cooked ones and safe from bacteria to consume.
Frozen foods do not support bacterial growth. This is because, on freezing, the bacteria can not survive the low temperature and dies. So, frozen foods are safe from bacteria. Frozen foods could be any food like:
- Frozen meat (chicken, beef, mutton, lamb)
- Frozen seafood
- Frozen vegetables
- Frozen poultry
Canned foods are packed in sealed containers with added preservatives to protect and keep them safe against bacterial growth. The cans prevent the air from entering the sealed containers. Some examples of canned foods are:
- Canned Fruits (pineapple, grapefruit, peaches, etc.)
- Canned Vegetables (carrots, corn, beets, etc).
- Canned Fish (salmon, tune, etc.)
- Canned Meat (chicken, beef, etc.)
Dry foods have no moisture content so it helps against the prevention of bacterial growth. Some examples of dry foods include a granular form of:
- Whole grains
- Rice grains
- Powdered milk
Dried spices and herbs do not have moisture content or air in them as they are in a dry form and are packed in air-tight containers. They are good choices for bacteria-free food items. Some examples are:
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
The foods such as highly acidic foods, raw vegetables, some frozen foods, canned foods, dry foods, and even some dry spices are the ones that do not favor and support the growth of bacteria. These foods do not provide a suitable environment like moisture, temperature, pH, and oxygen for bacteria to grow.
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