FDA widens recall of products fearing Botulinum contamination

26 July, 2007:

Millions of cans of chili, chili sauce, beef stew, corned beef and dog food are being recalled across the United States because of possible contamination with the deadly botulinum toxin.

The recall in the United States now includes cans of ‘Great Value’ chili sold at Wal-Mart stores in Canada.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the recalled cans cover over 90 brands and every ‘best by’ date on the market. Four cases of botulism, two in Texas and two in Indiana, have been traced to the contaminated foods.

Botulism can cause paralysis. Symptoms of the disease, including blurred vision and slurred speech, can occur 18 to 36 hours after eating tainted food.

Castleberry Food Company, a Georgia-based a subsidiary of Bumble Bee Seafoods, first issued a recall on July 18, 2007, after the botulism cases were traced back to its ‘Hot Dog Chili Sauce Original.’ Nine other products also were included in that recall.

The recall was later expanded to include 80 brands made at the Augusta, Georgia, processing plant.

The Food and Drug Administration has advised consumers to search their cupboards and shelves for any of the products, which are identified with a USDA seal that has ‘Est. 195’ printed on it. Those cans should not be opened under any circumstances, Robert Brackett, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, warned.

These cans must be discarded immediately by double-bagging them in plastic bags that are tightly closed and then placed in a trash receptacle outside the home.

Botulinum is so toxic that it can cause paralysis merely by breathing it in or exposing it to broken skin.

The problem seemed to stem from a particular bank of retorts, or large vessels used to heat canned foods to temperatures above 250 degrees to kill botulism spores.

The US Food and Drug Administration’s examiners found 17 swollen and bulging cans – a classic sign of botulism – and 16 of those tested positive for the toxin.

Botulism in commercially canned foods is extremely rare. The Food and Drug Administration last recorded a case in 1971.






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