Health officials again announced that last month’s recall of canned beans in 6 to 7 pound institutional-sized cans over botulism concerns has been expanded to include a variety of other vegetables in similar-sized cans.  The expanded recall includes asparagus, peas and other vegetables canned by the Michigan-based New Era Canning Company.  The vegetables are sold under a variety of brand names, including Classic Sysco, Code, Frosty Acres Restaurant’s Pride Preferred, GFS, Kitchen Essentials, Monarch Heritage, Necco, New Era, Nugget and Reliance Sysco.  A full list of the recalled products with names and lot codes can be found at the FDA website.

Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Clostridium botulinum is the name of a group of bacteria commonly found in soil. It is an anaerobic, gram-positive, spore-forming rod that produces a potent neurotoxin. These rod-shaped organisms grow best in low oxygen conditions. The bacteria form spores, which allow them to survive in a dormant state until exposed to conditions that can support their growth. The organism and its spores are widely distributed in nature. They occur in both cultivated and forest soils, bottom sediments of streams, lakes, and coastal waters, and in the intestinal tracts of fish and mammals, and in the gills and viscera of crabs and other shellfish.