January 2009

Here’s more on the Stonewall Kitchen recall.  The York, Maine-based company warns consumers the sauces listed may be contaminated with deadly botulism.  None should be consumed even if they still look or smell okay.   The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) carries this summary on its website:

The following list of products was distributed nationwide to consumers through the nine Stonewall Kitchen Company Stores, Stonewall Kitchen’s direct-to-consumer division (catalog/internet) and through their wholesale division. Products could have been purchased individually or within a gift basket. This recall affects all product codes and expiration dates for:

  • Stonewall Kitchen Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce (SKU 161312) – round glass jar, 12 oz.
  • Stonewall Kitchen Chocolate Peanut Butter (SKU 161211) – round glass jar, 12 oz.
  • Stonewall Kitchen Coffee Caramel Sauce (SKU 161204) – round glass jar, 13 oz.
  • Stonewall Kitchen Dulce de Leche Sauce (SKU 161214) – round glass jar, 12.5 oz.
  • Barefoot Contessa Espresso Dulce de Leche (SKU 542313) – round glass jar, 10.5 oz.

Additionally, the following list of products was distributed nationwide to consumers through A-Hold Corporation (Stop & Shop and Giant stores). This recall affects all product codes and expiration dates for:

  • Simply Enjoy Coffee Caramel Sauce – square glass jar, 13 oz.
  • Simply Enjoy Chocolate Peanut Butter Sauce – square glass jar, 12 oz

The rest of Stonewall’s press release can be found at the FDA site here.

The Colorado Department of Public Health is warning people across the state after a series of dessert sauces were recalled because they could have potentially contained botulism.

The health department says Stonewall Kitchen of York, Maine is recalling seven dessert sauces. They may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, which could cause a life-threatening illness or death.

The health department says people in Colorado could have gotten the sauces out of a catalogue or from the Internet.

Here is a list of the recalled sauces:

• Stonewall Kitchen Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce, (SKU 161312) – round glass jar, 12 oz.
• Stonewall Kitchen Chocolate Peanut Butter (SKU 161211) – round glass jar, 12 oz.
• Stonewall Kitchen Coffee Caramel Sauce (SKU 161204) – round glass jar, 13 oz.
• Stonewall Kitchen Dulce de Leche Sauce (SKU 161214) – round glass jar, 12.5 oz.
• Barefoot Contessa Espresso Dulce de Leche (SKU 542313) – round glass jar, 10.5 oz.

Due to the threat of botulism, Brooklyn-based K-Fat Inc., is recalling "Golden Dragon Fish brand Frozen Cooked Mackerel Fish".

The product was found to be uneviscerated prior to processing.
It was discovered by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspectors during a routine inspection.

This product may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores, which can cause Botulism, a serious and potentially fatal food-borne illness.

The sale of this type of fish is prohibited under New York State Agriculture and Markets regulations because Clostridium Botulinum spores are more likely to be concentrated in the viscera than any other portion of the fish.

Uneviscerated fish has been linked to outbreaks of botulism poisoning. Symptoms of botulism include blurred or double vision, general weakness, poor reflexes, difficulty swallowing and respiratory paralysis. 

For more, check this out.

 Recent changes in the official botulism websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health caught our attention.

Both are attributing an increase in the number of wound botulism cases to an "epidemic" of Mexican black tar heroin abuse in California.  CDC puts it this way:

 

In the United States, an average of 145 cases are reported each year.  Of these, approximately 15 percent are foodborne, 65 percent are infant botulism, and 20 percent  are wound.  Adult intestinal colonization and iatrogenic botulism also occur, but rarely. Outbreaks of foodborne botulism involving two or more persons occur most years and usually caused by eating contaminated home-canned foods. The number of cases of foodborne and infant botulism has changed little in recent years, but wound botulism has increased because of the use of black-tar heroin, especially in California. 

The California Department of Public Health is even more pointed in its summary:  "The number of cases of food-borne and infant botulism has changed little in recent years, but wound botulism has increases because of the injection of black tar heroin.  In recent years, California has experienced an epidemic of this form of botulism and we now report nearby three-quarters of the wound botulism cases in the country.

We first reported on wound botulism cases in California here.

Here’s the official answer from CDC to the question: "What is botulism?"

Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are three main kinds of botulism. Foodborne botulism is caused by eating foods that contain the botulism toxin. Wound botulism is caused by toxin produced from a wound infected with Clostridium botulinum. Infant botulism is caused by consuming the spores of the botulinum bacteria, which then grow in the intestines and release toxin. All forms of botulism can be fatal and are considered medical emergencies. Foodborne botulism can be especially dangerous because many people can be poisoned by eating a contaminated food.