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Botulism tainted olives claim the life of a Helsinki woman

An elderly woman has died as a result of botulism poisoning, produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, after eating almond-stuffed olives contaminated by botulinum toxin.  According to the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District, she passed on Thursday.  Another adult member of the same family remains in hospital, and the person is said to be improving.

These illnesses are linked to recalled olives that were distributed to the USA, as well as the UK, Finland, and Germany.  The tainted olives were packed in 314ml glass jars, with a best before date of 09/2012. They were imported into Finland by Kespro as early as September 2010. The olives were sold in Finland to K-food stores KCM Big Apple (Espoo), KCM Jumbo (Vantaa) and KSM South Centre (Rovaniemi), and to a few restaurants.

According to a notice posted October 21, 2011 on the Rapid Alert System for Foods and Feeds (RASFF) and updated this morning (October 24th), these olives also were distributed to the United Kingdom and the USA. So far, neither the U.S. Food and Drug Administration nor Britain’s Food Standards Agency has issued a Consumer Alert or a public health advisory of any sort.