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Enterococcus spp.

E. faecalis, E. faecium

General characteristics

The genus Enterococcus is comprised of Gram-positive, microaerophilic cocci (round), which are not motile and occur in chains or pairs. The genus is defined by a combination of antigenic, haemolytic, and physiological characteristics and was formerly part of the genus Streptococcus (group D streptococci).

Disease symptoms

May produce a clinical syndrome similar to staphylococcal intoxication.

Diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, dizziness in 2-36 hours. Following ingestion of suspect food, the infectious dose is probably high (greater than 10 7 organisms).


Culturing of stool samples, blood, and suspect food.

Associated foods

Food sources include sausage, evaporated milk, cheese, meat croquettes, meat pie, pudding, raw milk, and pasteurised milk. Entrance into the food chain is due to under-processing and/or poor and unsanitary food preparation.


Poor hygiene, under-processed food and cross-contamination, when cooked material comes into contact with raw produce or contaminated materials (cutting boards), are the main causes of infection. Proper cooking and hygienic food handling thus can prevent Enterococcus infections to a large extend.

Risk populations

All individuals are susceptible. No age or race susceptibilities have been found.


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