Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens) is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. According to some estimates, this type of bacteria causes nearly a million illnesses each year.
Cooking kills the growing C. perfringens cells that cause food poisoning, but not necessarily the spores that can grow into new cells. If cooked food is not promptly served or refrigerated, the spores can grow and produce new cells. These bacteria thrive between 40-140˚F (the “Danger Zone”). This means that they grow quickly at room temperature, but they cannot grow at refrigerator or freezer temperatures.
C. perfringens infections often occur when foods are prepared in large quantities and are then kept warm for a long time before serving. That’s why outbreaks of these infections are usually linked to institutions (such as hospitals, school cafeterias, prisons, and nursing homes) or events with catered food.
Diarrhea and abdominal cramps (not fever or vomiting)
Duration of Illness
24 hours or less
Who’s at Risk?
What Do I Do?
Drink plenty of fluids and get rest. If you cannot drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration, call your doctor.
How Do I Prevent It?
Clostridium perfringens (CDC)
General information on diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and more.