Human beings are the main reservoir of S. aureus. A carrier contaminates the surrounding environment when coughing, sneezing and by touching food with a hand having a staphylococcus-infected lesion. It is often found in the environment and on food preparation surfaces and also in certain uncooked foods (dairy products, salads, sandwiches,..)
It is important to check the presence of S. aureus before and after the foodstuff sterilisation process. Even if S. aureus is destroyed by heat, its presence in raw materials remains dangerous. Indeed, enterotoxins produced by S. aureus are heat-resistant and can contaminate well-cooked food. According to international QC guide lines, if the level of S. aureus is over a certain limit (ex: meat, usually over 103cfu/gr), improvements in hygiene have to be made in the production facilities as well as in raw material selection.