Can you boil away bacteria

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “Can you boil away bacteria?” We will also discuss what are the types of bacteria, how can you boil away bacteria from water and from food, and can all bacteria types be boiled away

Can you boil away bacteria?

Yes, you can boil away bacteria in an easy and efficient way making your water and food safe to consume without getting a water-borne illness or food poisoning that threatens your health and life.

Boiling is an effective pasteurization method that kills and inactivates almost 99.99% of the active pathogenic bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. 

However, certain bacterial species such as clostridium and bacillus are resistant to high boiling temperatures and may survive once they are found as dormant spores.

So if you are concerned about your health and want to ensure the safety of your family from bacterial infections found in food and water, then this article is a must-read to discover the types of bacteria that can be boiled away as well as the time and temperature required to kill those pathogenic bacteria. 

What are the types of bacteria?

Bacteria are microscopic unicellular microorganisms that are present in different habits and environments such as air, water, soil, and even in our bodies but they are invisible to the naked eye.

Bacteria are divided into 2 types: pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria, however, what concerns us to boil away are the first type to avoid water-borne illness and food poisoning.

Pathogenic bacteria include a wide variety of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, Vibrio, and Campylobacter.

These bacteria can contaminate not only water but also raw and undercooked foods mainly poultry, meats, seafood eggs, and shellfish, and causes a lot of human diseases and food poisonings such as salmonellosis, shigellosis, gastroenteritis, dysentery, typhoid fever, and cholera.

How can you boil away bacteria from water?

Here are the main steps recommended by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  that you should follow to ensure you boil away bacteria from water:

  • Put the amount of water you want to pasteurize in a boiling pot however if the water is cloudy you should let it settle down and precipitate first or use a clean a piece of cloth to filter it
  • Place the pot on a stove or any heat source and let the water boil to a rolling point where it starts to bubble very vigorously 
  • Keep the water boiling for at least 1 minute
  • Remove the boiling pot from the stove or any heat source then let the water cool down
  • Store the boiled water after it cools down in a clean and tightly-secured container 

How can you boil away bacteria from food?

Food constitutes a great an enriched medium for the growth and proliferation of pathogenic bacteria at temperatures that range between 40 -140°F 

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following steps to ensure boiling away of the bacteria from food:

  • Avoid eating raw and undercooked meat, poultry, fish and eggs
  • Each type of food must be cooked or boiled to a certain safe internal temperature that is measured by the internal thermometer to ensure killing or inactivation of pathogenic bacteria according to the following table:
Food typeSafe internal temperature
Poultry165°F (74°C)
Whole beef, pork, lamb, or veal meat145°F (64°C)
Ground beef, pork, lamb, or veal meat160°F (71°C)
Fresh ham 145°F (64°C)
Fish145°F (64°C)
Food leftovers165°F (74°C)

Can all bacteria be boiled away?

Studies have shown that almost 99.99% of the bacteria are killed or inactivated by high temperatures during boiling, whereas many species, mainly water-borne pathogens, are destroyed at lower temperatures (150°F/65°C) than water boiling temperature (212°F/100°C).

Boiled water kills microorganisms and bacteria. However, the extent of destruction depends on the bacteria’s and various microorganisms’ heat resistance, the temperature, and the length of time that the microorganisms and bacteria are susceptible to the boiled water.

However certain bacterial species such as Clostridium botulinum bacteria are hyperthermophiles or heat resistant where they can thrive and tolerate high temperatures of boiling water that reach 100 degrees Celsius in the dormant spore form.

For more detailed guidance, please click the link here

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Can you boil away bacteria?” We have also discussed what are the types of bacteria, how can you boil away bacteria from water and from food, and can all bacteria types be boiled away

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.

References

https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/boilwater/response_information_public_health_professional.htm#:~:text=Boiling%20water%20kills%20or%20inactivates,processes%20(e.g.%20denature%20proteins).

https://www.healthline.com/health/what-temperature-kills-bacteria

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.