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Bacteria are microscopic and are often referred to as germs. Although this varies, they can double in quantity in just 10 minutes, one bacterium can become 2 and so within an hour they can become 64, the scale of infection can be drastic. When they reproduce they split in half and this process is known as binary fission. The speed of multiplication will depend also on the temperature, high temperatures can kill bacteria and lower temperatures can reduce the multiplication or even halt it.

The majority of bacteria are harmless, you may even consume some food that is covered in bacteria but will cause no harm like some cheeses, others will, however, cause you problems and illness.

Sometime the bacteria will grow on the food or simply use the food as a host in order to enter your body. The bacteria get their nutrition from amino acids, fats, minerals and vitamins and these are best found in high protein foods like fish, meat and dairy produce. Where a food is high in sugar or sale, bacteria are mostly not suitable for bacterial growth. 

Bacteria also require moisture to allow them to absorb nutrients and to remove waste products. Apart from many dried foods, there is usually enough moisture in foods to sustain bacterial growth.

Depending on the type of bacteria, Oxygen may or may not be required for bacteria growth. Bacteria called Aerobes can only multiply in the presence of oxygen and anaerobes can only multiply without Oxygen present. There are also somewhere it does not matter if oxygen is present, like Salmonella.

When a bacterium reproduces, they produce toxins or poison; these toxins can cause food poisoning. These toxins are not always detected by a visual inspection of the food. If food is stored below 5 degree Celsius or over 63 degrees Celsius these toxins are not usually produced.