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Food Safety Focus (136th Issue, November 2017) – Food Incident Highlight

Clostridium Perfingens in Laksa

Last month, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) followed up on food complaints, collected a laksa sample from a restaurant for testing. The sample was found containing Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens) at a level that was potentially hazardous to health.

Cooking kills the growing C. perfringens cells but the heat-resistant spores may survive. If cooked food is being held within 20oC–60oC for long enough time, the spores can grow and produce new cells. Intake of food containing large number of C. perfringens cells could lead to formation of spores and production of toxin in the intestine, resulting in abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Foods that are prepared in large quantities (e.g. those prepared by restaurants and institutional food services) require longer time for cooling that provides favourable conditions for the growth of C. perfringens. To prevent food poisoning, pre-cooked foods should be stored and reheated properly before consumption.

Upon the detection of C. perfringens in the laksa sample, the CFS instructed the restaurant to stop supplying the affected food immediately and carry out thorough cleaning of the premises. The CFS also provided health education on food safety and hygiene to the restaurant and will continue to follow up on the incident.