Clostridium Perfringens

What is Clostridium perfringens?

Clostridium perfringens is a type of food poisoning organism often associated with large scale catering, such as canteens, schools and hospitals. It may be found in the bowels of animals, birds and man, and in such a habitat it spores readily. Spores will survive in soil or dust for a very long time and if the vegetation or water sources are contaminated, infection of food animals is likely. Contaminated products may result in human infection. Soil adhering to vegetables is another potential source in food preparation areas. Very large numbers of this organism are required to cause human illness.

What food is affected?

This type of food poisoning is often associated with reheated meat and meat products. Since the organism is only able to multiply in the absence of air, it thrives at the bottom of a stockpot or in the centre of a meat pie or rolled joint. Most outbreaks normally involve a large number of people because Clostridium perfringens is more commonly found in foods that have been prepared in bulk.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms include stomach pains and diarrhoea and usually last for 12-24 hours. The patient rarely vomits. The symptoms start between 8-24 hours after eating contaminated food.

Action to be taken!

During the diarrhoea phase hygiene should be scrupulous and food handling avoided. It is during this time that it is possible to pass the infection on to another person.

If you need further advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Last Modified: 05/12/2018
For more information contact:

The Food, Health & Safety Team

Tel: 01633 648009

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