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How Can Pathogens Grow Well Between Which Temperatures?

Let’s talk about pathogens. Pathogens grow well between which temperatures?

Pathogens Grow Well Between Which Temperatures

According to the FDA, many foodborne pathogens grow well between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F (40 degrees C and 60 degrees C).

To keep your family safe, we recommend that you keep food out of the danger zone. 

We know it may seem simple, but staying in this zone can save lives. 

So, we recommend keeping food in a cooler or fridge in a way that works for your family and lifestyle so you can do your part to fight back against these harmful pathogens.

What are pathogens?

Pathogens are the single most important part of our immune system. They’re bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, and more—basically anything that can make us ill or infect us.

Many types of pathogens can cause illnesses in humans. If you are working with or around them, it is important to be aware of the kinds of diseases they can cause, how they are spread, and how to protect yourself.


Viruses are one of the smallest forms of life that can infect living cells. The effects of a virus on its host depend on the type of virus and how it enters the body, but some types of viruses cause mild symptoms while others can be fatal.


Bacteria are one-celled organisms that can be harmful if they enter your body through cuts or open wounds in your skin. 

Some bacteria cause infections by entering your bloodstream through these cuts. 

Other bacteria live outside the body and enter through food or water contaminated with feces or urine. 

A few kinds of bacteria live inside your intestines and help digest food.


Several fungi infect humans, including yeasts and molds, which sometimes grow in bathrooms, showers, and damp basements where moisture is present. 

Fungi thrive in warm temperatures and moist environments. They often grow on food stored at room temperatures, such as bread and pasta.

What Do Pathogens Do

There are millions of different kinds of pathogens. All have one thing in common: they can all make you sick. 

However, there’s a lot more to them than just making you feel bad. Some of these microbes are incredibly tiny, and others are pretty big. Some do their dirty work from the inside out while others do it from outside in.

Also Read: The Three Types of Hazards That Make Food Unsafe Are

What do pathogens do?

Here are some of the ways that they can affect living things, from the mild to the downright nasty:

  1. Infection: Pathogens can infect host bodies. In most cases, this is a bad thing. But there are benefits to some types of disease, such as vaccinations and parasitic organisms. Parasitic organisms live on or in other organisms and benefit from them without harming them.
  2. Domination: Pathogens can take over host bodies and use them for their purposes, which generally involve reproducing and spreading further. For example, many bacteria use human cells to reproduce and spread, known as bacterial infection.
  3. Competition: Some pathogens compete with each other for space and resources within host bodies, such as food sources and living space. Others compete against other micro-organisms for control over host bodies or the environment around them.
  4. Compilation/convergence/corruption/misinterpretation: Micro-organisms can contribute to disease through compilation errors; converging on a single path; corruption of genetic information; misinterpretation of genetic information; and misprogramming of cellular processes (among others). Cells are either healthy or cancerous, and while it might seem odd, healthy cells can become cancerous or even go back to being healthy again.

What Is the Temperature Range for the Temperature Danger Zone

The Temperature Danger Zone ranges temperatures where bacteria can grow, multiply and cause food poisoning. 

Bacteria are present in all fresh foods, but it’s the growth of these bacteria that can make you sick.

The temperature danger zone is usually defined as being between 40°F and 140°F (4°C to 60°C)—the temperatures at which bacteria grow most quickly. The food must be out of this temperature danger zone for long enough to slow growth to a safe level.

The temperature danger zone is a serious health concern for people who handle foods that support bacterial growth, such as:

  • Meat, especially poultry;
  • Seafood;
  • Dairy products; and
  • Leafy greens (lettuce, cabbage, spinach).

Bacteria can be introduced into foods in several ways:

  1. Raw food can become contaminated with bacteria from soil or water during growing and processing.
  2. Raw food can pick up bacteria from the hands of workers who handle it.
  3. Bacteria can multiply quickly if raw food is kept too warm for too long before it’s cooked or eaten.
  4. Bacteria can grow in cooked food if it is cooled too slowly or stored too warm.
  5. Food can become contaminated when left at room temperature for too long.
  6. Food can become harmful when being prepared if food from earlier is not disposed of properly.
  7. Food can become contaminated when cooked meat juices drip onto raw foods during storage or preparation.

Which of the Following Foods Does Not Support Bacteria Growth

Bacteria do not grow on the following foods:

  • Fresh meats, poultry, and fish
  • Unopened milk products
  • Cooked eggs and egg products
  • Honey

Bacteria grow well on the following foods:

  • Raw meat and poultry (including ground meat)
  • Unpasteurized milk and milk products (Such as yogurt, cheese, buttermilk, cream, sour cream)
  • Sprouts (alfalfa, mung bean, radish)
  • Raw fruits and vegetables (including salads) that are not washed with clean water or stored at low temperature
  • Chocolate (unless it contains nuts)

What Does Bacteria Need to Survive

  1. Bacteria need moisture, food, and shelter to survive.
  2. Bacteria can live almost anywhere. Even in the coldest and driest places on earth, you will find bacteria. For example, bacteria can be found in:
  3. Water — lakes, rivers, and oceans
  4. Soil — the top layer of dirt, known as topsoil
  5. Air — in the air we breathe
  6. Plants — inside plants and on their skin
  7. Minerals — in rocks
  8. Insects — inside insects such as ants and caterpillars
  9. Animals — inside animals such as birds, snakes, or people.
  10. There are more bacteria in your body than there are cells! And they do a lot of good work in our bodies. For example, they help us break down food and vitamins to be used by our bodies. They also keep harmful germs from growing in our bodies. Bacteria even produce some vitamins that we need to stay healthy.

Do Bacteria Need Oxygen

Bacteria don’t need oxygen to live; they can survive in their absence. However, bacteria that live in water or air do need oxygen if they are to grow and multiply.

Final Words – Pathogens Grow Well Between Which Temperatures

The take-away message here is not getting your product too hot because pathogens grow well at body temperature. 

The best way to avoid them is to make sure things are heated sufficiently well, to wash your hands regularly, and even give hand sanitizer a shot if you can.

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