We investigate the relationship of incubation time and forward-scattering signature for bacterial colonies grown on solid nutrient surfaces. The aim of this research is to understand the colony growth characteristics and the corresponding evolution of the scattering patterns for a variety of pathogenic bacteria relevant to food safety. In particular, we characterized time-varying macroscopic and microscopic morphological properties of the growing colonies and modeled their optical properties in terms of two-dimensional (2-D) amplitude and phase modulation distributions. These distributions, in turn, serve as input to scalar diffraction theory, which is, in turn, used to predict forward-scattering signatures. For the present work, three different species of Listeria were considered: Listeria innocua, Listeria ivanovii, and Listeria monocytogenes. The baseline experiments involved the growth of cultures on brain heart infusion (BHI) agar and the capture of scatter images every 6 h over a total incubation period of 42 h. The micro- and macroscopic morphologies of the colonies were studied by phase contrast microscopy. Growth curves, represented by colony diameter as a function of time, were compared with the measured time-evolution of the scattering signatures.