toxins from pathogenic bacteria can be destroyed by freezing and cooking

toxins from pathogenic bacteria can be destroyed by freezing and cooking

toxins from pathogenic bacteria can be destroyed by freezing and cooking

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Toxins from pathogenic bacteria can be destroyed by freezing and cooking true or false

The correct option is false: toxins from pathogenic bacteria cannot be destroyed by freezing or cooking.


Pathogenic bacteria are bacteria that can cause disease in humans.

They can come from the most common food products

such as meat, milk, and eggs and are often water-borne.

Now that pathogenic bacteria are becoming increasingly deadly,

it is essential to know how to handle them and stay safe.

Before you eat something, you need to make sure that

the bacteria and their toxins are destroyed and, thus, prevent yourself from becoming sick.

The problem is that some of the harmful microorganisms can

withstand extremely high and extremely low temperatures,

making it impossible to disinfect food by freezing or frying it.

It is nigh on impossible to guess what type of bacteria inhabits your food without doing a laboratory test.

So it is better to check twice where you get your groceries from and stick to sanitary guidelines.

toxins from pathogenic bacteria can be destroyed by freezing and cooking
toxins from pathogenic bacteria can be destroyed by freezing and cooking

Bacterial Food Poisoning

Food borne illness is an ever-present threat that can be prevented with proper care and handling of food products. It is estimated that between 24 and 81 million cases of food borne diarrhea disease occur each year in the United States, costing between $5 billion and $17 billion in medical care and lost productivity.

Chemicals, heavy metals, parasites, fungi, viruses and bacteria can cause food borne illness. Bacteria related food poisoning is the most common, but fewer than 20 of the many thousands of different bacteria actually are the culprits. More than 90 percent of the cases of food poisoning each year are caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Bacillus cereus, and Entero-pathogenic Escherichia coli.

These bacteria are commonly found on many raw foods. Normally a large number of food-poisoning bacteria must be present to cause illness. Therefore, illness can be prevented by controlling the initial number of bacteria present,  preventing the small number from growing, destroying the bacteria by proper cooking and  avoiding re-contamination.

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Poor personal hygiene, improper cleaning of storage and preparation areas and unclean utensils cause contamination of raw and cooked foods. Mishandling of raw and cooked foods allows bacteria to grow. The temperature range in which most bacteria grow is between 40 degrees F (5 degrees C) and 140 degrees F (60 degrees C). Raw and cooked foods should not be kept in this danger zone any longer than absolutely necessary. Undercooking or improper processing of home-canned foods can cause very serious food poisoning.

Since food-poisoning bacteria are often present on many foods, knowing the characteristics of such bacteria is essential to an effective control program.

toxins from pathogenic bacteria can be destroyed by freezing and cooking
toxins from pathogenic bacteria can be destroyed by freezing and cooking

Bacterial toxins


Exotoxins can be deadly, for instance, the C. botulinum cell produces the toxin botulism which causes the illness of the same name. Tetanus, diphtheria and anthrax are also caused by exotoxins produced by a bacterial species in each case. Exotoxins are usually produced by gram-positive bacteria.

Gram-positive bacteria are named for their response to a staining method. These bacteria have a specific cell wall structure that is different from gram-negative bacteria. They have techoic acid and a thick peptidoglycan wall that takes up the gram stain.

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Endotoxins are part of the cell wall of the bacterium, which means they are only released when the bacterial cell dies and disintegrates.

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Lipoproteins and lipopolysaccharides both form the toxin, more specifically it is the lipid part that is the actual toxin while the polysaccharides and proteins may trigger the immune system of the host.

They are not as deadly as exotoxins but can produce a fever in an ill person as the person’s immune system responds to these toxins. They can, however, sometimes cause death.

An example is the Escherichia coli bacterium, which can sometimes cause death if in the more deadly form. These bacteria that produce endotoxins are gram-negative bacteria.

Gram-negative bacteria have a thin cell wall and contain the lipopolysaccharides. These are absent in the gram-positive bacteria. The gram-negative bacteria can’t retain the gram stain since they are thin and thus are known as gram-negative bacteria.

Many cases of food poisoning occur each year because of bacteria and their toxins. Improperly prepared food is a major cause of food poisoning.

Freezing and heating food is a good way to help avoid getting food poisoning by stopping bacteria growing and killing bacteria outright.

toxins from pathogenic bacteria can be destroyed by freezing and cooking
medical illustration


Keeping foods at a cold temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended. Freezing food won’t kill bacteria, but cold temperatures can stop them from growing, for instance, it controls the growth of Salmonella bacteria.

The bacteria, in general, grow on substrates and as temperature decreases, their ability to grow on a substrate also decreases as they are less able to take up nutrients for growth.

If you do freeze food, you do not kill the bacteria, they simply become dormant which means that they may reactivate once you thaw the food. This means that you need to be careful to not leave cold foods outside the fridge for too long.

For example, do not leave milk standing out for hours. During the time a food is left out, the temperature rises and bacteria can begin to grow again.

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Some species can still grow in the refrigerator at temperatures that are slightly above freezing, for instance, Versinia enterocolitica and enteropathogenic E. coli.

These two species of bacteria can grow between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately, these bacteria can normally be destroyed by cooking food at a high enough temperature.


Heating is a way to kill most bacterial cells and their associated toxins. It is recommended that food is heated above 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 Celsius).

This is why eating raw foods such as raw seafood or raw meat is not a good idea since they may have high bacterial loads.

Some species can form heat-resistant spores, notably those bacteria that are in the Clostridium genus. Both C. botulinum and Clostridium perfringens can survive heating to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is recommended therefore that food be heated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 Celsius).

C. perfringens can occur in poultry, meat, and gravy; while C. botulinum can occur in food that is not properly canned.

Salmonella is another species that is hard to kill and will only be killed if food is heated above 150 degrees Fahrenheit (66 Celsius). This pathogen is found in eggs, poultry, and meat. These foods thus need to be heated adequately to ensure that no Salmonella bacteria survive.

Wet heat is even better at killing bacteria than dry heat. Autoclaves are instruments that are used to sterilize medical equipment.

These machines use a combination of high temperature and pressure to kill bacteria. Autoclaves are available in industrial and research institutions but are not available for the general public to use.

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