Bacillus cereus is a spore-forming foodborne pathogen responsible for diarrheal and emetic types of food poisoning. Intoxication is caused by various enterotoxins or by emetic toxin. Because of its widespread presence and the ability to form heat-stable endospores in a relatively short time, B. cereus has been difficult to control. In this study, 21 rice and 36 Sunsik (a mixture of powdered raw grains) samples were examined for the prevalence of B. cereus. A multiplex PCR assay was used to evaluate the distribution of 10 different toxigenicity-related genes among 1,082 B. cereus strains isolated from dried red peppers (919 isolates), rice (98 isolates), and Sunsik (65 isolates). The results suggest that (i) the examined foods were free of the emetic toxin but not free of enterotoxins and (ii) the distribution of enterotoxigenic genes was significantly different among the B. cereus isolates from various sources.
† These authors contributed equally to this study.