You Asked It!

What is Bacillus cereus?

You may have had foodborne illness caused by Bacillus cereus and didn’t know it. Most people have mild symptoms and it goes away in about a day.

B. cereus can be a serious illness. When consumed through contaminated food, it can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea and symptoms start in about 6-15 hours. The most common foods it is associated with are rice, but also starchy foods such as potatoes, pasta, cheese products and other food mixtures such as sauces, soups, salads and casseroles.

Temperature control of food is important. If food is left at warm temperatures, B. cereus can form spores, which can lead to more bacterial growth and more toxins form. Cooking will kill the bacteria, but may not destroy the toxin. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, wash your hands, and prevent cross–contamination.


About Karen Blakeslee

The Rapid Response Center was formed in 1995 as a resource for Kansas State University Research & Extension Agents. Resource topics included Food Science, Human Nutrition, Food Service, Textiles, Home Care and other consumer topics. Since that time, the Center has grown to be of valuable assistance to Kansas State University Extension Specialists in those areas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *