Clostridium Perfringens and Food Poisoning

The bacteria

clostridium perfringens

is the main culprit for most of the food poisoning cases observed in the US. Improperly handled poultry and meat are the main sources of this bacteria that causes food poisoning. The

clostridium perfringens

are a bacteria that form spores and when ingested, these spores release poisonous toxins into the intestines. These bacteria also multiply in number pretty quickly once ingested.

Clostridium Perfringens Colony:

The toxins produced by the spores of this bacteria are usually destroyed at a temperature of 74 degrees Celsius. But the spores of the bacteria as such, are resistant to the heat.

  • When meat is cooked, the toxins in the meat that were present would be destroyed. But, as it begins to cool, the spores would begin to release the toxins again and form large colonies thus, contaminating the meat.
  • The toxins released by this colony of bacteria can scar or strain the intestines either moderately or severely.


The symptoms of the food poisoning caused by the bacterial colonies would depend on the intestinal strain. If the strain is mild or moderate, the symptoms like nausea and diarrhea would resolve by themselves without the need of any treatment. In severe cases of strains (Type C strains) though, the small intestine could be damaged due to severe gastroenteritis and cause death as well.

Some of the symptoms that are present are-

  • bloating
  • increased gas
  • nausea
  • muscle ache
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of weight
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • dehydration
  • abdominal distension

These symptoms can show within 6-24 hours after ingesting the bacterium  and in mild and moderate cases, they subside after 24 hours. In type C strains, a powerful toxin called beta-toxin is released that can potentially cause ulcers.


Usually, the symptoms resolve by themselves in about 24 hours. If that is not case, one would have to be given intravenous fluids to cope with the dehydration along with proper rest. Antibiotics are not recommended for treatment.

Clostridium perfringens

can be prevented by properly storing and handling the meat prior to cooking it. Meat should also be reheated properly before it is served.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *