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Botulism Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Botulism News & Outbreaks

Honey and Babies Do Not Mix – Botulism

34380zdyq33t7dg-300x225The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has announced that a 6-month-old Adachi Ward boy died of infant botulism after his family gave him honey.

According to the metro government, it is the first death caused by infant botulism reported in Japan since 1986, when statistics started being kept.

The government warned that babies younger than 1 should not be given honey, after announcing on Friday that the boy died on March 30. Government officials said the boy had been having coughs since Feb. 16, and was taken to a hospital by ambulance on Feb. 20 after developing convulsions and suffering respiratory failure. He was diagnosed as having infant botulism on Feb. 28.

They said that the boy’s family had been giving him honey by mixing it into juice twice a day for about a month, and that the family told them they were not aware babies should not be given honey.

The bacteria Clostridium botulinum was found from an unsealed honey container kept at the boy’s house and in the boy’s stool, and a public health center confirmed that the boy’s death was caused by botulism poisoning.

Minnesota Dry Fish Botulism Recall

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has issued a consumer advisory for dried fish from a St. Paul market due to concerns about botulism.

The MDA said Friday that dried, uneviscerated fish sold from Shwe Karen Market has the potential to be contaminated with clostridium botulinum, which can cause life-threatening illness or death.

The product of concern is dried fish longer than 5 inches and still containing the internal organs. The fish was packaged in one kilogram clear plastic bags labeled “Dried Fish.” The fish was sold between Feb. 5 and March 2, 2017.

Botulism Risk – Baby Food in Canada

The recall of one brand of PC Organics baby food Feb. 3 has been expanded to all varieties of the brand as of Feb. 8.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the voluntary recall by Loblaw is due to risk of botulism in the food. It said excess water in the products, present because of a manufacturing error, might allow botulism to grow.

The recall initially involved the PC Organics brand of apple, blueberry and green pea strained baby food in the 128 millilitre container. It now includes a list of 32 different kinds in the PC organic baby food line.
“There have been reported illnesses that may be associated with the consumption of these products,” the CFIA said on its website.

The recall was triggered by a consumer complaint and the CFIA said it is investigating and will verify that the industry is removing all the recalled products.

Anyone who has purchased the baby food should throw it out or return it to place of purchase. The food has been distributed nationally.

In Western Canada, it was distributed to Extra Foods, Loblaws City Market, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Real Canadian Wholesale Club, Your Independent Grocer, Shoppers Drug Mart and affiliated independent stores.

Lizard Fish Recalled

Lizard-FishArcadia Trading Inc. of Brooklyn, NY, is recalling 34 cartons of Lizard Fish because they have the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death.  Consumers are warned not to consume the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double- vision, and trouble with speaking or swallowing.  Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms.  People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

The Lizard Fish was distributed nationwide to supermarkets between 2/11/2014 and 7/8/2016.

The product was imported from Vietnam and is packed in uncoded bulk 15 kg boxes.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The potential for the contamination was noted by an FDA Investigator during a follow-up inspection.  Subsequent FDA analysis of the product confirmed that the fish was not properly eviscerated prior to processing.  The company has ceased distribution of the product.

Mackerel Recalled over Botulism Risk

Phil-am Trading, Inc. of Jersey City, NJ is recalling Phil-am Smoked Mackerel (Hasa-Hasa), because it has the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death. Consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

Phil-am Smoked Mackerel (Hasa-Hasa) was distributed in New Jersey, New York, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Phil-am Smoked Mackerel (Hasa-Hasa) comes in 200 g. (7.05 oz) packs and is packaged in a clear flexible plastic pouch and is topped by a predominantly red tag affixed to the top seal which has the product’s information. Its UPC code is 814487015147, and the product was distributed to stores between February and November 2016. Stores will be notified of their receipt of product and will be provided with recall instructions.

NYSDAM laboratory and sampling analysis revealed that the product is uneviscerated.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

Mackerel Recalled due to Botulism

ae2219bb-f7a9-4419-82e8-7ae48a43a02b-large16x9_BOTULISMThe State Department of Environmental Agriculture and Markets is now warning consumers not to eat “Phil Am” brand Smoked Mackerel (Hasa Hasa) because the product was found to be uneviscerated.

The product is sold by Asian Supermarket Group Inc., located at 1245 Central Ave in Albany.

No illnesses have been reported to the Department to date in connection with the product.

The “Phil Am” brand Smoked Mackerel (Hasa Hasa) is packaged in a clear, vacuum package flexible plastic pouch and offered for sale at refrigerated temperatures. The product is uncoded and is a product of the Philippines. The package does contain a UPC number of “814487015147.”

Because the fish is uneviscerated, the product may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores, which can cause Botulism, a serious and potentially fatal foodborne illness.

Symptoms of Botulism include blurred or double vision, general weakness, poor reflexes, difficulty swallowing and respiratory paralysis.

Botulism Risk on Island Soups Company

FDA advises consumers to discard any soup products from Island Soups Company, Inc. of New York with Best Before dates between July 2015 and June 2018 because they have the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium that causes botulism.

FDA is working with Island Soups Company to ensure that recalled product is removed from the market. FDA’s safety concerns extend to all low-acid canned food products with Best Before dates between July 2015 and June 2018.

FDA inspected Island Soups Company, Inc. on June 22, 2016 and determined the facility does not meet mandatory safety requirements for thermally processed low-acid canned food (LACF) products under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The FDA’s review of the facility revealed significant violations of requirements relating to, among other things, documentation of processes, equipment, and recordkeeping in the production of the company’s LACF products. Failure to adhere to mandatory safety requirements can result in under-processed foods, which can allow the survival and growth of Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum), a bacterium that causes botulism. After a July 2015 FDA inspection, Island Soups Company signed an affidavit stating it would cease production and distribution until it met FDA regulatory requirements, including filing its scheduled processes for its thermally-processed LACF products. To date, Island Soups Company has not filed scheduled processes for these products. Despite the signed 2015 affidavit, the company continued to distribute soups to online customers in March and June of 2016. The online distribution of the soups triggered the follow-up inspection on June 22, 2016.

On August 30, 2016, the FDA issued an order requiring Island Soups Company to obtain a written “emergency permit” from the Agency. An emergency permit may be required whenever the FDA finds, after investigation, that a commercial processor has failed to fulfill all the requirements pertaining to LACF products, including registration and the filing of process information. An emergency permit would be issued only after the Agency has verified that the company has met the FDA’s regulatory requirements in such a way that the company’s products can be considered safe and can be distributed into interstate commerce.

After a conversation with the FDA, Island Soups Company ordered a recall of six varieties of Island Soups brand products on September 7, 2016 because they have the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum.

FDA will continue to update this list if additional products are recalled.

GUNGO PEAS SOUP, NET WT. 16OZ
GUNGO PEAS SOUP NO MEAT, NET WT. 16OZ
RED PEAS SOUP, NET WT. 16OZ
RED PEAS SOUP NO MEAT, NET WT. 16OZ
MANNISH WATER, NET WT. 16OZ
FISH SOUP, NET WT. 16OZ
All products coded BEST BEFORE dates July 2015 through June 2018.

Consumers should discard any of the identified LACF products from Island Soups Company, Inc. with Best Before dates between July 2015 and June 2018 because they were not manufactured, processed, or packaged in accordance with mandatory safety requirements for thermally processed low-acid canned food (LACF) products and therefore have the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum.

Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double vision, and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

If you are unsure of your risk, ask your healthcare provider.

Botulism Outbreak at Mississippi Prison

Botulism_rdax_100The  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a botulism outbreak at the federal prison in Yazoo City after 17 inmates became ill from drinking homemade alcohol.

Last week, the inmates consumed alcohol they made in the prison.

The inmates then began showing signs of botulism and required hospitalization. They were transferred to three hospitals in the Jackson area and each received an anti-toxin, Sharlot said.

To date, 15 of the 17 inmates remain hospitalized, according to a press release issued by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. One inmate was transferred to a federal prison in Oklahoma City before he began showing signs of botulism. He was also hospitalized.

Symptoms can occur six hours to 10 days after ingestion and include double vision, blurred vision, droopy eyes, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, muscle weakness and paralysis.

The  CDC is conducting the lab analysis on patient samples.

The contents of the intoxicant were not immediately clear but the incident is being investigated by the Bureau of Prisons, Sharlot said.

FCI Yazoo City, a minimum security prison housing 1,310 male inmates, is currently on limited operations as a precautionary measure. It has temporarily ceased any outgoing movement of inmates and has suspended family visitation until further notice, the release stated.

The outbreak is the sixth botulism  in the United States prison system since 2004, Sharlot said.

Canned Goods Likely Cause of Washington Botulism Deaths

The Washington State Public Health Laboratory confirmed botulism was the cause of two deaths in Grant County earlier in February. The deaths were announced on Feb. 19th by the Grant County Health District (GCHD) and said they were likely caused by botulism but awaited further testing. GCHD officials said both of the cases were from the same household and had “classic” botulism symptoms.

The food source still has not been found but GCHD officials said they are working closely with the family to “properly destroy any unopened home-canned food found in the residence.” “The thorough work by medical providers and staff at GCHD in coordination with Washington State Department of Health has lead to the confirmation of botulism (botulinum) toxin in the patient’s blood samples. This in turn confirmed the clinical suspicion and the results of our environmental investigation,” GCHD Environmental Health Manager Todd Phillips said in a press release. “This tragic event is a reminder to all of us about proper food preparation and canning.”

Botulism is a serious, muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a toxin made by a bacteria found naturally in soil.

Canned food may be behind the recent deaths of two people in Grant County Washington

Heath officials are investigating the death of two people that was likely caused by botulism. Leaders at the Grant County Health District (GCHD) said it is still early in the investigation but the suspected source is home-canned food, though it has not been confirmed yet.

The Washington State Department of Health reported an average of 0 to two cases of food-related botulism deaths each year over the last 10 years.

The identities of the two were not released by Grant County officials.

Botulism is a serious, muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a toxin made by a bacteria found naturally in soil. There are three main types of botulism: foodborne, infant, and wound.

Historically, home-canned vegetables, fruits and meat products have been the most common cause of foodborne botulism outbreaks in the United States.

Here is a list of the top ways to make sure you stay safe in your own kitchen.

Use proper canning techniques: make sure your recipes are always current with scientifically tested guidelines. Don’t use outdated publications or cookbooks, even if they were handed down to you from trusted family cooks.

Use the right equipment for the kind of foods that you are canning: always use a pressure canner when canning low-acid vegetables, meat, fish and poultry.

When it doubt, throw it out: if the container is leaking, bulging, swollen or if the jar spurts liquid or foam when you open it, toss it.

Botulism is considered a medical emergency. If symptoms of foodborne illness arise, go to a doctor right away.

The GCHD noted the disease is not spread from person to person but symptoms appear anywhere between six hours to ten days. Here is the list of symptoms provided by the GCHD:

Double vision
Blurred vision
Drooping eyelids
Slurred speech
Difficulty swallowing
Dry mouth
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Muscle weakness

Experts say to never taste home-canned food to determine if it is safe.