Clostridium perfringens
Foodborne illnesses

Food Safety


Clostridium perfringens is widely distributed in the environment and frequently occurs in the intestines of humans and many domestic and feral animals. Spores of the organism persist in soil, sediments, and areas subject to human and animal fecal pollution.


Clostridium perfringens can cause diarrhea and gas pains about 8 to 24 hours after eating. The illness usually lasts 1 day, but some symptoms may last 1 to 2 weeks for the elderly or very young.


The bacteria can be found in soil, dust, sewage, and intestinal tracts of animals and humans. The organism grows in little or no oxygen.

Modes of Transmission

Clostridium perfringens bacteria are capable of producing a food-poisoning toxin that can be produced in foods that have experienced temperature abuse. Cooking can destroy the bacteria, but some toxin-producing spores may survive.


Cool foods rapidly in small quantities
  • Avoid preparing foods hours in advance
  • Reheat foods rapidly to a minimum of 165° F
  • Proper cleaning and sanitizing of equipment
  • Avoid using leftovers


FDA’s Bad Bug Book


National Restaurant Association