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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Botulism Cases rise in Texas and New Mexico and the recall has become an international joke

I am in Australia giving talks on how to improve food safety in the world and all people at the conference can talk about is how US businesses seem to do such a great job poisoning customers. I must admit it is a bit embarrassing. Castleberry’s Food Co. has recalled more than 90 potentially contaminated products nationwide – including canned chili, hash, stew and dog food – over fears of botulism contamination. However, not only has the recall been a joke – products are still on shelves and in peoples’ homes – but the company has been silent on reaching out to the victims – what gives?

News reports are not good from home:

Child with botulism still critical

One of two West Texas siblings confirmed to have botulism poisoning from canned food recalled nationally remained hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday, a hospital official said.

Botulism leaves New Mexico man paralyzed

A 52-year-old Sandoval County man is paralyzed with botulism, and state health officials said in Albuquerque that they were trying to determine if he ate canned food involved in a nationwide recall.

Castleberry’s Press Release today only underscores that it had no plan in place to deal with a recall of its product:

Castleberry’s Updates Status of National Canned Food Recall
Officials Express Urgent Need for Retailers and Consumers to Identify and Discard Recalled Items

Citing a continuing threat to public health, Castleberry’s Food Company is urging retailers, food service operations, food banks, charitable organizations and consumers to be diligent in identifying and discarding canned products subject to Castleberry’s national recall.

“Our primary focus is making sure that no potentially contaminated products are on grocery shelves, in peoples’ homes or in emergency food supplies,” said Steve Mavity, SVP Technical Services/Quality Assurance for Castleberry’s. “Surveys by our own audit team, as well as those by inspectors from federal, state and local health agencies, confirm that some retail outlets, especially smaller independent and convenience stores, may still have recalled products available for sale. We are renewing our warning not to sell, open, or consume these products.”