Header graphic for print
Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Castleberry’s Botulism Recall Update – Ill people in Texas and Indiana

In June of this year I posted on www.foodpoisonblog.com an entry on Botulism.  I had no idea that this recall and outbreak would occur within weeks.  Andrew Bridges of the Associated Press wrote today:

Bursting cans of tainted food give new urgency to warnings about botulism

Cans of recalled food are bursting, swollen with the bacteria that causes botulism.  The bursting cans were among those being held by Castleberry’s Food Co., which announced last week a massive recall that now includes more than 90 potentially contaminated products, including chili sauces and dog foods.  News about the bursting cans gives new urgency to warnings from federal health officials to get rid of the recalled cans from pantries and store shelves.  Four people have been sickened and hospitalized by the contaminated food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The recall covers potentially tens of millions of cans of food; officials fear the tally will grow.

Food and Drug Administration investigators believe the company failed to properly cook some or all the products, allowing the Clostridium botulinum bacteria to survive the canning process.

The bacteria produce a toxin that causes botulism, a muscle-paralyzing disease.

“We’re not talking here about a bug that lands you in the bathroom for a few days with diarrhea. We’re talking about a toxin that puts you in the intensive care unit,” said Dr. David Acheson, the FDA’s lead food safety expert. “This is foodborne illness with an extra kick in it, big time.”

“The longer this stuff stays in the can, the worse it gets,” Acheson said.

The bacteria thrive in moist, oxygen-free environments; inside canned food is a perfect place.  As the bacteria grow and reproduce, they produce gases that can cause contaminated cans to swell and burst. Health officials warn the extremely potent toxin can infect people if it is inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the eye or breaks in the skin.

Please see full Recall List here.