Food poisoning is a potentially lethal condition and therefore a serious problem for the food industry. Each year, some 50 million people suffer food poisoning in the U.S. alone, including more than a million cases of potentially lethal salmonella poisoning.
So finding ways to prevent the spread of this and other kinds of bacteria is an important goal. But it is hard to detect bacteria in food products. The most common detection methods involve techniques such as microbiological culturing, polymerase chain reactions, high-performance liquid chromatography, and mass spectrometry, to name just a few.