Bacterial biofilms occurring in the food industry are complex, multi-species consortia of both the saprophytic and the pathogenic bacteria. They are often localised on surfaces that are difficult to access for both the closed-circuit cleaning agents and the mechanical cleaning. In the food industry bacterial biofilms are a source of microbiological contamination of food, causing the quality and durability of food products to decrease. In addition, food biofilms can be a source of pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp. or Listeria monocytogenes, and of opportunistic bacteria (e.g. Escherichia coli) that cause gastrointestinal diseases, which can be long-lasting and difficult to treat, especially in immunocompromised individuals. In the paper there are presented basic mechanisms of bacterial biofilm formation and the most important functions performed by the extracellular biofilm matrix (EPS). There were characterised main bacterial pathogens occurring in the industries such as: meat, dairy, fish, seafood, plantderived products with a minimum degree of processing, and in the juice branch; it was taken into account the possibility of those microorganisms to form a permanent and resistant to external factors biofilm. Also discussed were the possibilities of eradicating food biofilms with a particular emphasis on the methods based on the use of natural compounds of plant origin and the use of lytic bacteriophages and/or their purified enzymes.
bacterial biofilm, extracellular matrix, pathogens, biofilm elimination, food processing