Introduction and objective:
Bacillus cereus is a foodborne pathogen causing two main types of gastrointestinal diseases: emetic and diarrheal. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of the Bacillus cereus group in ready-to-eat (RTE) food products available in retail in Poland.

Material and methods:
Samples were collected by Sanitary and Epidemiological Stations within the framework of the national official control and monitoring sampling programme in Poland. In 2016–2020, a total of 45,358 food samples, such as: ‘confectionery products and products with cream’, as well as ‘cereal grains and cereal and flour products’, ‘milk and milk products’, ‘sugar and others’, ‘meat offal and meat products’, ‘poultry offal and poultry products’, ‘eggs and egg products’, ‘fish, seafood and their preserves’, ‘vegetables’ (including legumes), ‘coffee, tea, cocoa, fruit, and herbal teas’, ‘delicatessen and culinary products’, and ‘foods for particular nutritional uses’ were collected.

The presence of the presumptive B. cereus group was monitored mainly in two categories of food products: ‘confectionery products and products with uncooked cream’ and ‘confectionery products and products with heat-treated cream’. The number of samples disqualified due to presumptive B. cereus was 339 (0.75%).

This study provides useful information regarding the contamination of RTE products with the B. cereus group, which may have implications for food safety.

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