Risk: Human pathogens, pathogen destruction

23 April 2013  |  HOTBIN Composting

Risk Issue: transmission of pathogens from food to compost and back from compost to food/kitchen. The main transmission route is via hand contact with compost and then food preparation areas.

How risky is it?

Defra have extensive research on pathogen risks and destruction in composting. In summary pathogen, reduction to safe (acceptable) limits is time and temperature dependant. Acceptable risk levels are achieved under the following conditions:

  • 65°C (149°F) for more than a few minutes
  • 62°C (143.6°F) for one hour
  • 50°C (122°F) for one day
  • 46°C (114.8°F) for one week
  • 43°C (109.4°F) for one month

Correctly operated, HOTBIN will achieve 60°C, and we recommend compost remains in the HotBin for 90 days.

It is safe to handle compost as long as the usual garden hygiene rules are followed. Keep cuts covered, keep your anti- tetanus protection up to date, wear gloves, and always wash your hands after attending a compost heap.