Brie Zeitner of the Plain Dealer reports that two people in Ohio have been hospitalized with botulism that public health officials suspect is connected to a nationwide recall of VR Green Farms’ jarred sauces.
The two Ohio patients, both Cincinnati residents in their 20’s, were each on ventilators at one point but are improving, according to the Cincinnati Health Department. One patient is still on a ventilator and was transferred last week to an acute long-term care facility, Dr. Steven Englender, director of the department’s Center for Public Health Preparedness said in an email. The other patient is breathing unassisted and “may have been discharged by now,” he said.
Preliminary testing by the Cincinnati Health Department found evidence of Clostridium botulinum type B in a meal of pasta that contained the recalled pesto sauce. The lab is still awaiting confirmation of those results.
VR Green Farms of San Clemente, CA, is voluntarily recalling a variety of its jarred food products because they may have been improperly produced, therefore making them susceptible to contamination by Clostridium botulinum.
The recalled products include Pine Nut Basil Pesto, Pickled Farm Mix, Old World Tomato Sauce, Sundried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, Tuscan Grilling Sauce and Pasta Sauce. Photographs of these products can be found here. The products were sold at the VR Green Farms stand in San Clemente, CA, and via the Internet to consumers throughout the United States.
Ingestion of botulism toxin from improperly processed jarred and canned foods may lead to serious illness and death. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is coordinating with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Ohio Department of Health in the investigation of two cases of suspected foodborne botulism infections that may be associated with consumption of the firm’s Pine Nut Basil Pesto.
Botulism toxin is odorless and colorless. Consumers who have any of these products or any foods made with these products should discard them immediately. Double-bag the jars in plastic bags and place in a trash receptacle for non-recyclable trash. Wear gloves when handling these products or wash your hands with soap and running water afterward.
Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The initial symptoms frequently experienced are double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, and dry or sore throat. Progressive descending paralysis, usually symmetrical, may follow. Infants with botulism appear lethargic, feed poorly, are constipated, have a weak cry and poor muscle tone.