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Botulism Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Botulism News & Outbreaks

Rice Porridge with Abalone Recalled Over Botulism Risk

A Korean-made rice product is being recalled because of concerns it may allow the growth of a bacteria that causes botulism.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says Rice Porridge with Abalone from Korea Food Trading Ltd. is sold in Ontario and New Brunswick but may also have been distributed in other provinces.

The product is sold in a round 288-gram container featuring Korean characters with a code reading 2015-01-24.

The federal health agency says anyone who has the product should thrown it out or return it to the store where it was purchased.

Food contaminated with the toxin (Clostridium botulinum) may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. The CFIA says symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, blurred or double vision, dry mouth, respiratory failure and paralysis. In severe cases of illness, people may die.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Botulism Risk Prompts Fish Recall

Lao Thai Nam Corp., of Dallas, Texas is recalling Number One Sompa Salted Fish, 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.

Number one Sompa Salted Fish was distributed in the state of Texas (Irving and Houston areas) through retail stores, prior to 03/31/2014.

Number One Sompa Salted Fish is contained in a clear vacuum packaged pouch. The pouch contains red and black lettering with a fish logo on the left hand portion. The product is a 7-ounce package containing a whole processed Tin Foil Barb fish, UPC: 8 8433200019 4.

Bacon Spread has Botulism Risk

Testing by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) revealed that the spread made by Kitchen by Brad Smoliak might permit the growth of clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism.

Customers who bought the affected 125 gram jars — which have best before dates of May 14 and July 14, 2014 — should throw them away, CFIA officials said in a release.

Food tainted with the toxin might not look or smell spoiled but can still cause illness, the CFIA said.

Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, blurred or double vision, dry mouth, respiratory failure and paralysis. In severe cases the toxin can be fatal.

Honey and Botulism – Baby Risk

Two British babies have contracted a rare life-threatening disease triggered by eating honey.

The boys, aged three months and five months, had to be put on life-support machines suffering from infant botulism.

Both had been feeding badly and showed typical symptoms – a floppy head, drooping eyelids and constipation. They were cured only after medication costing £50,000 a dose was flown in from America.

The incidents, confirmed last week, have prompted public health chiefs to warn that infants under one should not be given honey.

The younger boy had eaten honey, while the older one had been given a homeopathic treatment that may have contained honey, which can carry the potentially deadly bacteria. The identities of the babies treated and the hospitals involved have not been disclosed.

But according to the latest health protection report from Public Health England, the five-month-old was diagnosed just before Christmas in central or southern England.

He may still be in hospital because recovery can sometimes take six months. He had taken the homeopathic remedy before becoming ill, though tests on it showed no trace of botulism.

The three-month-old was treated at a children’s hospital in northern England and has recovered.

His mother admitted giving him honey at home, though tests on what was left in the jar also failed to detect the botulism bacteria.

Liver Pate Recalled Due to Botulism Risk

Webbers Food is recalling “Hausmacher” liver pâté from the marketplace because it may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below. The following product has been sold in glass jars with no label only from November 13, 2013 to December 5, 2013, inclusively, at the following locations in Nova Scotia:

• Hammonds Plains Farmers’ Market, Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia

• Lunenburg Farmers’ Market, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Food contaminated with Clostridium botulinum toxin may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, blurred or double vision, dry mouth, respiratory failure and paralysis. In severe cases of illness, people may die.

Botulism Outbreak in Texas

On Friday, the Health Department was informed of the first potential case here in Amarillo. They soon began investigating and discovered three other possible cases.

Two of the patients matched the criteria and were given the antitoxin. Doctors say they are slowly improving.

All four patients are adults and are currently hospitalized.

“We’ve got a small group of people who know each other in some manner, we hope that there are no other cases, but we just want to do our due diligence and make sure that we are protecting our community by providing information,” Casie Stoughton who is the Assistant Director of the City of Amarillo Public Health Department.

While one patient remains on a ventilator, another is now breathing on their own after receiving similar treatment.

Another patient had symptoms, began feeling better and then traveled to Georgia before having symptoms again and is currently hospitalized there.

The last patient is getting better on their own because officials say they caught it sooner than the others.

While all four of the patients know one another, the source of the illness has not been determined.

“There’s a lot we don’t know, we haven’t found common sources, we haven’t found any common restaurants, we haven’t found common…there’s just a lot of pieces of the puzzle that we don’t have,” Stoughton said.

The CDC out of Atlanta is sending experts to help the City of Amarillo investigate if these patients do have Botulism, and if so to determine the cause.

Since Botulism is a foodborne illness, the investigation will center around what the patients ate in the hours and days leading up to their illness.

Common symptoms include blurry vision, difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, and heavy or droopy eye lids. Because the bacteria attacks the body’s nerve endings, it can lead to paralysis.

Symptoms usually appear 12 to 36 hours after being exposed to the toxin, but it may take up to 8 days. Doctors say it can take up to 6 months for a patient to be fully healthy again. In some rare cases, if left untreated, Botulism can be fatal.

KFDA – NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Botulism Recall – Orange Blossom Farm Hot Dog Relish

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced this week that Orange Blossom Farm is recalling Hot Dog Relish in response to a food safety investigation being conducted by CFIA. The relish was sold at St. Jacob’s Farmers’ Market in Ontario in 500 ml containers.

The public health agency announced that the recall was triggered by CFIA inspection activities, which found the relish risky because it may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium that produces botulinm toxin. When ingested, the toxin causes botulism poisoning, a potentially life-threatening illness.

Botulism poisoning is rare but so dangerous that each case is considered a public health emergency. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most frequent source of botulism is home-canned foods prepared in an unsafe manner.

Symptoms of botulism typically appear between 18 and 36 hours after a person eats contaminated food, but they can occur as early as six hours or as late as 10 days after the food is ingested. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, blurred or double vision, dry mouth, respiratory failure and paralysis. In severe cases of illness, people may die.

According to the CFIA announcement, the food safety investigation may lead to the recall of other products. CFIA is urging consumers who have the recalled product in their homes to throw it out.

New Strain of Botulism Found

Scientific American reports that Scientists have discovered a new strain—the first in 40 years—of Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium that is ultimately responsible for causing botulism. And although they have reported their findings in a scientific journal, the investigators have taken the extraordinary step of withholding key details of the discovery. That’s because the toxins made by C. botulinum are the most dangerous known to humankind and currently there is no antidote for a toxin generated by the new strain. The fear is that malevolent organizations or rogue governments might use the information to reverse engineer their own version of the new bug, making it a potent and real bioterrorism threat.

Salmon Recalled Due to Botulism Risk

Big Blue Fisheries is recalling ALL smoked products from all lots and codes, various sizes, in vacuum packages because the products may not have been properly cooked and have 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. Because the products may not have been fully processed, product contamination by spoilage organisms or pathogens could lead to illness if consumed.

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.

Big Blue Fisheries initiated a voluntary recall after Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation conducted a routine inspection and discovered that some of their products may not have been properly cooked. To date, there have been no reported illnesses or consumer complaints.

The firm’s products sold under Big Blue Fisheries brand and Sitka Alaska Smoked Fish were distributed locally in Sitka, Alaska and wholesale nationwide between 09/24/11 to 09/24/13. Products were also sold from internet through the website: http://alaskasmokedfish.com1.

Products were sold in vacuum packed plastic packages with labels located on the front that include the pack date and AK#604.

Sorry New Zealand, Botulism Test Wrong

Dairy products made by the New Zealand company Fonterra that were at the center of a global contamination scare this month did not contain a bacterium that could cause botulism and posed no food safety threat, New Zealand officials said on Wednesday.

The Ministry for Primary Industries said tests showed that whey protein concentrate manufactured by the world’s largest dairy processor contained Clostridium sporogenes, which cannot cause botulism but which at elevated levels can be associated with food spoiling.

Initial tests conducted by Fonterra and a New Zealand government research institute had indicated the presence of Clostridium botulinum, raising fears that infant formula and sports drinks made from the product and widely exported could be dangerous.

The botulism scare caused a recall of products made by multinational brands that may have contained the whey protein in markets like China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. It also prompted bans in Russia and Sri Lanka.