Bacteria: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Salmonella

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salmonella bacteria photo
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There's a good chance you recognize this rod-shaped bacteria: It's salmonella, a bacteria that affects 1.4 million people every year.

The bacteria lives in intestinal tracts of both humans and animals and is passed back and forth via food -- either on products contaminated with animal feces or in undercooked meat. The resulting disease is characterized by diarrhea, cramps, and fever, and while most people recover in a few days, salmonella can be fatal.

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service says, "In order to reduce salmonellosis, a comprehensive farm-to-table approach to food safety is necessary" -- which gives you just one more reason to buy local, and to know exactly where your food comes from.

Photo: Ed White/Getty Images