I've always been a bit curious about the sanitary benefits of boiling foods. Does it kill all bacteria and make the food safe?
Here is some clarifying information from a New York Times report. "Bacteria that cause illness inevitably end up on nearly every ingredient we cook with, and even boiling won’t kill all of them.
Boiling does kill any bacteria active at the time, including E. coli and salmonella. But a number of survivalist species of bacteria are able to form inactive seedlike spores. These dormant spores are commonly found in farmland soils, in dust, on animals and field-grown vegetables and grains. And the spores can survive boiling temperatures.
After a food is cooked and its temperature drops below 130 degrees, these spores germinate and begin to grow, multiply and produce toxins. One such spore-forming bacterium is Clostridium botulinum, which can grow in the oxygen-poor depths of a stockpot, and whose neurotoxin causes botulism.
Once they’ve germinated, bacteria multiply quickly in nourishing stock. They can double their numbers every 90 minutes at room temperature, every 15 minutes at body temperature. A single germinated spore can become 1,000 bacteria in a matter of hours, a billion in a few days.
Any active bacteria are killed by holding food for a minute at 150 degrees or above, and botulism toxin is inactivated by 10 minutes at the boil. But quickly reheating a contaminated food just up to serving temperature won’t destroy its active bacteria and toxins..."