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Staphylococcal Food Poisoning

Causative Agents

It is caused by Staphylococus aureus which produce seven (7) different toxins that are heat resistant (cannot be destroy by cooking) and frequently responsible for food poisoning.


Commonly found in 25% of healthy people and animal:

  • Nose and nasal secretion
  • Ears
  • Septic cuts
  • Skin (perspiration)
  • Hair
  • Infected sores

Food Implicated

  • Unhygienically prepared cooked food
    • Inadequate cooking
    • Food handed/prepared with barehands
  • Raw food such as raw vegetables/ulam/kerabu

Mode of Spread

The most common way of food to be contaminated with Staphylococus aureus is through food handler who carry the bacteria or through contaminated milk and cheeses.

Staphylococus toxins are resistant to heat and cannot be destroy by cooking.

Food at highest risk with Staphylococus aureus and subsequent toxin production are those that are made by hand and requires no cooking.


Persons suffering from food poisoning due to Staphylococus aureus typically experiences several of the following:

  • Abdominal cramp
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Onset of illness

1 – 8 hours (usually 2 – 4 hours)


It is important to prevent the contamination of food with Staphylococus before the toxins can be produced:

  • Wash hands and under fingernails vigoroulsy with soap and water before handling and preparing food.
  • Do not prepare food if you have a nose or eye infection.
  • Do not prepare or serve food for others if you have wounds or skin infections on your hands or wrists.
  • Keep kitchens and food-serving areas clean and sanitiezed.
  • If food is ti be stored longer than two hours, keep hot foods hot (over 140Ã?°F) and cold foods cold (40Ã?°F or under).
  • Store cooked food in a wide, shallow container and refrigerate as soon as possible.
  • Practice good hygiene while preparing and handling food.
Last reviewed : 12 September 2008
Writer : Dr. A’aisah bt. Senin
Norrani bt. Eksan