Although I am down in the “Big Easy” at the GMA’s 2008 Food Claims and Litigation Conference, I still had the time to edit and file what appears to be the second lawsuit against Castleberry’s for producing Botulism contaminated food.

According to the CDC, as of August 24, 2007, eight cases of botulism have been reported from Indiana (2 cases), Texas (3 cases), and Ohio (3 cases). The illness onset dates range from June 29 to August 7, 2007. All eight persons were reported to have consumed hot dog chili sauce made by Castleberry’s Food Company.  In July 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration facilitated the recall of 721,239 pounds of canned meat that were identified as possibly carrying the botulinum toxin as the result of an equipment malfunction, according to the USDA. The equipment malfunction was discovered during an investigation into an outbreak of illness in Indiana and Texas. Since then, the recall has been expanded to 10 million pounds of product coming out of the faulty Augusta, Ga., facility.

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.

Some of the coverage of the filings underscores how dangerous Botulism can be. Cory Frolik’s article in the Sandusky Register – "Federal suit filed over tainted food"

Carl Ours Jr. won’t be eating Castleberry Food Co.’s chili again.

"He was in bad shape ," said his 72-year-old father, Carl Ours Sr. of Norwalk. "It was a life-or-death thing….” The elder Ours described his son’s trauma as excruciating. He said it looked for a long and bleak stretch of time that his son would die. He holds out little hope that his son will ever completely recover.