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Botulism Infection Affects People Who Have Not Eaten Contaminated Food

Submitted by jrlaw on Mar 9th, 2009

Tens of millions of botulism contaminated cans of chili, hot dog sauce, beef stew, hash and other foods, have been recalled but some stores continue to carry the botulism infected canned foods on their shelves simply because they are not aware of the issue. Federal health officials have expressed severe concern that store owners and consumers continue to not realize the danger associated with these recalled canned foods even after the recall was initiated due to a risk of botulism poisoning which can cause severe illness and death.

On July 18, 2007, an initial Castleberry canned food recall was initiated after it was discovered that canned chili sauce may be contaminated with the bacteria that causes botulism poisoning (Clostridium botulinum). The botulism recall was later expanded to include any product made over the last two years in the Augusta, Georgia Castleberry Food Co. manufacturing plant. The cause of the botulism contamination has been reported to be that Castleberry failed to heat the cans sufficiently to kill the bacteria before cooling and sealing.

For the most part, convenience stores, gas stations and smaller grocery stores still have the recalled cans for sale and hundreds of thousands of consumers have the product in their homes. Random checks by the FDA discovered about 7% of the checked stores still had the botulism-contaminated food more than a week after the initial recall.

Federal health officials worry that the recalled food and botulism poisoning could continue for some time since these products have a two year or greater shelf life. On July 27, the fifth case of botulism poisoning was confirmed. A 51 year old woman was hospitalized with botulism after eating a can of Kroger Chili with Beans.
Bursting cans also contribute to risk of botulism poisoning

The risk of botulism poisoning is not only from eating the food and handling the open cans, but there have also been reports that contaminated cans are swelling and bursting due to the gases produced by the botulism bacteria. This could potentially lead to the chili sauce or can contents spilling onto shelves and nearby items. People who clean up the mess are at just a great of risk as the people who eat the food. The toxin is extremely potent and can lead to botulism even if it is inhaled or touched.

Botulism is not your run of the mill food poisoning, like E. coli or salmonella. Botulism poisoning is associated with paralysis which moves progressively down the body, affecting the shoulders first then moving to the upper arms, lower arms, thighs and calves. In severe cases the paralysis can lead to intensive care treatment, inability to breath and possibly even death.

Early botulism symptoms include:

Blurred vision
Drooping eyelids
Slurred Speech
Difficulty Swallowing
Dry mouth
Muscle weakness

If you or anyone you know shows any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. If you have been infected with botulism, you may be able to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Contact our food poisoning attorneys to see if you have a case.