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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Atlanta Georgia Woman Hospitalized with Possible Botulism Food Poisoning Caused by Castleberry Hot Dog Sauce – Two children in Texas and an Indiana couple hospitalized with Botulism Poisoning

Duffie Dixon of My Atlanta TV reports that a Woman (a medical student) Hospitalized After Eating Castleberry’s Chili.

An Atlanta woman remains hospitalized after eating what may be tainted chili included in the expanded recall issued Friday. Castleberry’s Food Co. of Augusta recalled more than 80 types of canned chili, beef stew, corned beef hash and other meat products in addition to the 10 brands it had recalled Thursday. Authorities believe the cans may contain strains of Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium that causes botulism, a muscle-paralyzing disease.

“All during the night, she just had these headaches and this constant having to go to the bathroom,” said her mother Patricia Ituen. “Later in the day, her sister asked, ‘what did you have to eat, Karmellia?’ She said, ‘Well, I had, Castleberry’s Chili.'”

What is as concerning is that the store where the product was purchased seemed to know nothing about the recall days after the recall was announced:

Friday, recalled cans were still on the shelves of at least one area grocery store, as 20-year-old Karmellia Ituen bought a can of Castleberry’s Onion Hot Dog Sauce, using approximately a quarter of it to cover two hot dogs. After eating the hot dogs, she said she didn’t feel well. She awoke Saturday to a severe headache, diarrhea and vomiting.

Her sister knew the chili was under recall, and the family retrieved the can from the trash. Ituen, a medical student at the University of Georgia, then went to the hospital, where she remained Sunday night. As of Sunday morning, though, the cans were still on the shelves at the store, who said they were unaware of the recall.

It will be interesting if this is a case of botulism poisoning or some other illness.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, a very small amount (a few nanograms) of toxin can cause illness. The classic symptoms of botulism include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. Infants with botulism appear lethargic, feed poorly, are constipated, and have a weak cry and poor muscle tone. These are all symptoms of the muscle paralysis caused by the bacterial toxin. If untreated, these symptoms may progress to cause paralysis of the arms, legs, trunk and respiratory muscles. In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as early as 6 hours or as late as 10 days.