The bacteria that are harmless and beneficial far outnumber harmful varieties. Because they are capable of producing so many enzymes necessary for the building up and breaking down of organic compounds, bacteria are employed extensively by humans — for soil enrichment with leguminous crops, for preservation by pickling, for fermentation as in the manufacturing of vinegar and certain cheeses and many other specialized processes.

However, bacteria in food cause food-borne infection. If bacteria become numerous and the food is eaten, the bacteria may continue to grow in the intestines, set up an infection and cause illness. Among the most common food-borne illnesses are salmonella, E.coli, and listeria.

To protect yourself from these bacteria, reports the Salisbury Post, control the temperature of food. Avoid the “danger zone” temperatures between 41 and 135 degrees, where harmful microorganisms grow and multiply.

In addition, pay close attention to the purchase, storage, preparation, serving and handling of food. Consumers should be careful in the way they handle and prepare food. Always remember to clean, separate, cook and chill.