Bacterial contamination, the primary biological contaminant, is the cause of most food-borne illnesses. However, it is interesting to note that some bacteria are beneficial (such as those needed to produce some cheeses and cultured milk products, beer, and wine), and it is presently thought that most bacteria are benign. But those that are harmful can be deadly.
Bacteria are tiny, one-celled microscopic plants that are present everywhere and on everyone. They multiply by splitting in two, and under ideal circumstances, one single bacteria cell can multiply into 281 billion cells in three days.