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Botulism Recall – What You Need to Know

Although most foodborne illness is called “Food poisoning” by the common man, most sickness caused by food is not “poisoning,” per se, but bacterial infections that are ingested by eating affected food. But, there has been recent news of a bona fide food poisoning outbreak. Four victims have been sickened with suspected botulism after ingesting hot dog chili sauce thought to contain the toxin. 10-ounce cans of Castleberry’s, Austex and Kroger brands of hot dog chili sauce with “best by” dates from April 30, 2009, through May 22, 2009 are suspected to be the ones affected, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

It is extremely rare for a commercially canned product to contain the botulism toxin, which is so deadly that one drop of pure toxin can kill 20 people. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention medical epidemiologist Dr. Michael Lynch said the last such U.S. case dates to the 1970s. The approximately 25 cases reported each year to the CDC usually involved home-canned foods, Lynch said.

Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are three types of botulism: foodborne botulism, wound botulism, and infant botulism. From the CDC website:

Clostridium botulinum is the name of a group of bacteria commonly found in soil. These rod-shaped organisms grow best in low oxygen conditions. The bacteria form spores which allow them to survive in a dormant state until exposed to conditions that can support their growth. There are seven types of botulism toxin designated by the letters A through G; only types A, B, E and F cause illness in humans.

About 110 cases of botulism are reported each year in the United States. Of these, only 25% are foodborne. Foodborne botulism usually results from improperly home canned foods, especially foods with a lower acid content, such as such as asparagus, green beans, beets and corn. Higher acidity in foods can help prevent foodborne infections and toxins.

Botulism can be prevented. Home canners should always follow strict hygienic procedures to reduce contamination of foods. If home canners have any questions about home canning procedures, they should obtain instructions for safe canning from county extension offices or the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Oils infused with garlic or herbs should be refrigerated. Potatoes which have been baked while wrapped in aluminum foil should be kept hot until served or refrigerated. Because the botulism toxin is ruined by high temperatures, persons who eat home-canned foods should consider boiling the food for 10 minutes before eating it to ensure that it is safe.

Honey can contain spores of Clostridium botulinum and this toxin has known to be a source of infection for infants; therefore children less than 12 months ancient should not be fed honey. Honey is safe for individuals 12 months of age and older. Wound botulism can be prevented by promptly seeking medical care for infected wounds and by not using injectable street drugs.

Foodborne botulism is most commonly found in foods that have been canned; therefore it is vital that not only do home canners regard food safety most highly, but that commercial cans that are bulging, severely dented, or severely rusted are discarded and not used. If foodborne illness is suspected, a person should seek medical care immediately. From the CDC website:

The classic symptoms of botulism include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. Infants with botulism appear lethargic, feed poorly, are constipated, and have a weak weep and poor muscle tone. These are all symptoms of the muscle paralysis caused by the bacterial toxin. If untreated, these symptoms may progress to cause paralysis of the arms, legs, trunk and respiratory muscles. In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally start 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as early as 6 hours or as late as 10 days.

The respiratory failure and paralysis that occur with severe botulism may require a patient to be on a breathing machine (ventilator) for weeks, plus intensive medical and nursing care. After several weeks, the paralysis slowly improves. If diagnosed early, foodborne and wound botulism can be treated with an antitoxin which blocks the action of toxin circulating in the blood. This can prevent patients from worsening, but recovery still takes many weeks. Physicians may try to remove contaminated food still in the gut by inducing vomiting or by using enemas. Wounds should be treated, usually surgically, to remove the source of the toxin-producing bacteria. Excellent supportive care in a hospital is the mainstay of therapy for all forms of botulism. Currently, antitoxin is not routinely given for treatment of infant botulism.

Do you know what you need to know about food safety? Are you cool and secure, even during a food recall? Do you know how to prevent food poisoning? If not, angelasdiscountmarket.com/beef_recall.html click here

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