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Name: Kayla H.
Status: Student
Age: 15
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2001

What kind of fungus and bacteria do we eat?

Hi Kayla,

thousands of kinds, maybe more. Are you surprised? bacteria are everywhere and our body can cope very well with most. There are a few bacteria that we eat 'on purpose' which means they are added to food to produce the taste and texture we want. That is the case with cheeses, yoghurt, saurkraut, sour cream, any fermented food (wine, beer) etc. Then there are lots of bacteria that like your food as much as you do. They will grow on it as soon as long as the food is not cooking or freezing. By the time cooked food is cooled down and frozen food heated up they start growing again. That is nothing to worry as long as there are not too many of the types that make you ill. Bacteria grow slower at low temperature, that's why food keeps better in the fridge.

You may like to know what your body does to defend it against these little bugs. Have a look at the Virtual Museum of Bacteria where you can find pages on food safety, on how we fight bacteria (in our stomach and with our immune system) and lots of other things.

And do not worry too much about eating bacteria: we would not be alive if they weren't there. Life is impossible in a sterile environment.

Dr. Trudy Wassenaar

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