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you can see smell and taste microorganisms

you can see smell and taste microorganisms

you can see smell and taste microorganisms

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you can see smell and taste microorganisms
you can see smell and taste microorganisms


Listeria is a harmful bacteria you can’t see, smell or taste

Listeria monocytogenes is scientific for the bacteria listeria which can cause the foodborne illness, listeriosis. Different than other bacteria, listeria can grow in the refrigerator and in warm food. It’s commonly linked to raw meat, unpasteurized dairy products and ready-to-eat food, such as deli meat, hot dogs and soft cheeses.

Fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are all symptoms of listeriosis. Other symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion and loss of balance. Meningitis, an infection of the brain and spinal cord, and septicemia, bacteria in the bloodstream, are the more serious symptoms that can result from listeriosis.

The potential dangers of foods contaminated from the listeria bacteria is increasing. Symptoms of foodborne illness vary from person to person. Pregnant women, people over 65 and those with compromised immune systems are more likely to be negatively affected by this harmful bacteria.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women are ten times more likely to get listeriosis. Listeria can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature birth and even death in newborns whose mothers have contracted the illness.

The CDC reports that people 65 years of age and older are four times more likely to get this foodborne illness than the general public and they suffer with more than half of all the reported listeria infections. Reasons for this include a weakened immune system and they have reduced stomach acid that is important in killing bad bacteria.


To prevent the possibility of listeriosis Michigan State University Extension offers these five tips to pregnant women, people over 65 and those with compromised immune systems:


  1. Thoroughly heat ready-to-eat foods such as hot dogs and deli meat before eating.
  2. Purchase pasteurized milk. Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time.
  3. Avoid soft cheeses such as Brie and feta.
  4. Throw out any product that has passed its use-by or expiration date
  5. Prevent cross-contamination between raw and ready-to eat food

I suffer from long COVID. Here is how I live without taste and smell


As far as I remember, I lost my sense of taste and smell from the first week of May. As I write this, I have still not regained these two senses. Indeed, I am now almost reconciled to the scary possibility of living without them.

you can see smell and taste microorganisms
you can see smell and taste microorganisms

Or, it might just be a reconciliatory feeling that the long duration has instilled in me. Doctors have told me: “Have patience. It will come back.”

I reviewed many ‘inform yourself’ books that I collected when we were expecting our daughter. I just wanted to know whether the senses of taste and smell  are biological or one develops them after birth.

This may sound like a foolish exploration for an existing biological being, but that is the level of frustration that this loss emotionally causes.

I am now assured that we are all born with five senses: Sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. In fact, the nose forms in the first trimester of pregnancy and by 10 weeks, the baby, still in the womb, can smell things.

So, this is my first experience of living without smell and taste. And this experience answers another puzzling question for me: What happens if we lose taste and smell?

I am without two senses that primarily define our interface with the world, family, and the food that sustains us. I cook, but only enjoy it by deploying my pre-COVID memory of its taste and smell.

A global emergency

In the six months since I tested positive for COVID-19, loss of taste and smell has been just one side-effect. Doctors have already listed 200 such effects that COVID-19 patients endure after recovery and those who endure any of them for more than a month, are being termed as suffering from ‘long COVID-19’.

I am undoubtedly a  ‘long COVID’ patient. I have other side effects as well: Loss of hair; anxiety attacks, though they are less frequent now; a nagging brain fog; fatigue that has reduced by now but I still feel drained sometimes; pain in my lower legs; a dry skin condition and infrequent bouts of palpitations.

you can see smell and taste microorganisms
you can see smell and taste microorganisms

As of November 18, there are over 230 million COVID-19 recovered people in the world, just like me. The fight against the pandemic continues, but there is an increasing focus on the recovered population enduring long COVID-19. Such a significant population group has been sick with 200 types of side-effects for months. It is a medical, economical and social emergency, almost.

Can you smell if food is off?

You’re hungry but exhausted when you strike gold at the back of the fridge — a plate of tasty-looking leftovers.

There’s just one problem. You can’t remember how long it’s been there.

The ABC’s War on Waste campaign has left you vowing to cut down on food waste. But you’re not keen on a bout of food poisoning either.

Sometimes it’s clear food is off – but not always(Gfycat)

“Never mind, nature endowed us with a wonderfully discriminating organ that can soon sort this out,” you think to yourself.

You take a good sniff and if it smells OK, you figure it’s fine to chow down.

It’s only if the odour is terrible, you’ll decide it’s teeming with food poisoning bugs and is best tossed in the bin.

Sound familiar?

While this is a common strategy, it’s actually a pretty lousy one, food experts say.

“A lot of people rely on the sniff test, [but] that means nothing whatsoever,” says Lydia Buchtmann from the Food Safety Information Council.

Food can look, smell and taste just fine but still contain enough food poisoning bacteria to make you very sick, Ms Buchtmann says.

Spoiled smell

On the other hand, if food smells off, you’re right in thinking it’s a good idea not to eat it.

When a plate of leftovers starts to pong, it means spoilage bacteria have taken hold.

When spoilage bugs are at work, it’s the start of the rotting process by which food decomposes, Ms Buchtmann says.

These bacteria generally cause an undesirable change in the composition of food.

They can make meats slimy and turn milk or yoghurt lumpy for example.

Foods affected this way will almost certainly not taste good.

While spoilage bugs are different from the microbes that cause food poisoning, if conditions are right for spoilage bugs, there’s a good chance the food poisoning bugs have grown too.

That means you may well be risking a nasty bout of stomach cramps, diarrhoea, and vomiting that could see you laid low for days.

So the nose test is right in that if it stinks, it’s best to toss it out. But never assume that just because it smells fine, it’s fine to eat.

How long can leftovers be kept?

So how can you know if leftovers are safe to eat? Unfortunately, there are no iron-clad guarantees, Ms Buchtmann says.

Labelling your parcel of goodies with the date before you stow them in the fridge is a good start.

Most leftovers should keep two to three days in a fridge maintained at the right temperature (5 degrees Celsius).

If you don’t think they’ll be eaten in that time, consider freezing them.

Be aware that cooked rice and pasta are best kept no more than two to three days too.

These are high-risk foods because they can contain spores of a food poisoning bacteria called Bacillus cereus.

The spores can survive the cooking process and produce new bacteria that can multiply while the rice or pasta is still warm.

Bulk cooking risk

If your leftovers are from bulk cooked “winter warmers” such as soups, casseroles and stews, be extra careful.

Handling large amounts of food imposes extra risk.

If the food is left to cool slowly, it increases the chance food poisoning bacteria can grow and produce dangerous toxins that won’t be destroyed by further cooking, Ms Buchtmann says.

“The main thing to remember is to divide any food that you aren’t going to eat immediately into small portions about the size of a takeaway container.

“Do this as soon as the food has stopped steaming and refrigerate or freeze straight away. The food will cool quickest in small containers, reducing the risk.”

When reheating food, make sure it is hot all the way through.

If you use a slow cooker, make sure it keeps the food at a safe holding temperature of 60 degrees Celsius or above until you are ready to eat it.

Leftovers left out

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Other high-risk leftovers are those that have been left out of the fridge for periods longer than an hour.

The “danger zone” is 5-60 degrees Celsius and most food left in this zone for up to two hours should be safe to refrigerate.

But if it’s been sitting out for two to four hours, you should either eat it immediately or dispose of it.

Anything that’s out over four hours is best thrown away.

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