GRAS microorganisms

richard richardz at
Thu Aug 1 10:23:14 EST 1996

In article <199608010406.QAA18078 at>, chilcott at says:
>Does anyone have an upto date list of GRAS (generally regarded as safe)
>microorganisms in regard to food microbiology?  Thanks in advance.
>Chris Chilcott
This is an interesting question.  GRAS usually is used to refer to chemicals
and food additives.

Nearly all microorganisms are NOT disease causers (pathogens) and in that
sense would be 'safe.'  However,  the presence of some common organisms
in a product might indicate the concommitant presence of pathogens.

There are 
only a handful of bacteria that cause major food safety concerns.
As a general rule one wants a food to be free of organisms that indicate
fecal contamination, and there are a few non-fecals  (non-enterics) which
it would be best to not have in food.
On the other hand, most of these pathogens will usually not cause illness
unless the food is very heavily contaminated or the person consuming
the food is otherwise debilitated by some other ailment.

Ultimately the safety of a food is controlled by food hygiene, handling,
storage, cooking.

There are bacteria that are used for manufacturing foods such as 
soy-sauce, cheeses, yogurts.  These are non-pathogenic bacteria that
have historically proven to be safe.  Some, like Lactobacillus are
believed, by some, to have therapeutic efficacy.

I hope this helps.

More information about the Microbio mailing list