We have been investigating several potential cases of botulism after receiving calls and emails from around the country over the last several days. Given the widespread reach of the potentially contaminated product, and how poor the recall has been done, the fact the the number of ill has been rising is not surprising. Confirmed cases so far (in addition to this Hawaii case) are two each from Texas and Indiana and one each from California and Georgia.
The Associated Press reported today some good news:
A Maui man who was hospitalized after eating a can of chili that was recently recalled because of potential botulism contamination has been released. Jon Stockton, 33, of Hana, was discharged in stable and improved condition Saturday morning, a hospital supervisor said. Stockton had been hospitalized Thursday with muscle weakness and paralysis in his face after eating Cattle Drive brand chili, which is manufactured by Castleberry’s Food Co. of Augusta, Ga., and was part of a voluntary recall.
“My face started feeling like it had a Novocain shot in it, all numb,” Stockton said. “When it started, my eyes were twitching, like I couldn’t control them. then my tongue went numb. And then my chin yesterday, and today, my throat is feeling kind of dry.”
Botulism is a muscle-paralyzing disease caused by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria.
Food and Drug Administration investigators believe Castleberry’s failed to properly cook some or all of more than 90 potentially contaminated products, including chili sauces and dog food. The bacteria thrive in oxygen-free and moist environments like those of sealed cans.