- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Health officials have blamed a common food bacterium for sickening so many staffers at a Des Moines high school that classes had to be canceled.

The Polk County Health Department says interviews and state lab tests show the food that Roosevelt High School staffers ate at a luncheon on Oct. 21 was contaminated by Clostridium perfringens. The department says the bacterium is one of the most common causes of U.S. foodborne illnesses.

The bacteria are found on raw meat and poultry. The department says the cells can be killed by cooking, but the spores can grow into new cells if cooked food isn’t promptly served or refrigerated.

District spokeswoman Amanda Lewis says the meal was catered by two businesses and that no students are believed to have been sickened.

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