Food Safety

Do You Know What Clostridium Perfringens Is?


If you’ve ever fallen victim to food poisoning, you probably remember the meal that caused it. But you’re probably not sure which underlying bacteria caused your symptoms and discomfort.

Clostridium perfringens is a common culprit. Caused by a bacteria that thrives at room temperature, C. perfringens commonly affects cafeteria settings, where food is prepared in large batches and served throughout the day.

It’s also appearing at fast casual restaurants where people move through a line, selecting components of their meal from pre-cooked batches of ingredients. In fact, C. perfringens was the cause of a recent incident at an Ohio Chipotle that sickened at least 650 people.

Symptoms of C. perfringens-based food poisoninginclude stomach pains, diarrhea, and vomiting. Although cooking can kill the bacteria itself, high temperatures leave the bacterial spores intact. If food is held at a temperature that’s too warm for cold foods or too cool for warm foods, the spores can regenerate, contaminating the food anew.

This dangerous temperature is often called the “danger zone,” between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 to 60 degrees Celsius. C. perfringens cannot grow at freezer or refrigerator temperatures. Unsafe food poses the biggest risk to the elderly, children, and people whose health is otherwise compromised.

To avoid C. perfringens contamination, experts recommend keeping food at temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above, and refrigerating cold foods immediately rather than allowing them to cool first. Reheated food should be microwaved to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a food thermometer to ensure that food is initially cooked to a safe temperature and served safely after.

As fast casual restaurants and food delivery apps such as UberEats, Seamless, and Postmates become more popular, it’s important for food to be delivered promptly and kept at an appropriate temperature while in transit.








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