Botulism Risk Sparks Chili Sauce Recall


Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on July 19, 2007 From the WebMD Archives

July 19, 2007 — Castleberry’s Food Company has recalled 10 of its cannedproducts, including three hot dog chili sauces, after at least four people werehospitalized in the first U.S.botulism case in commercially canned goods in several decades, according to theFDA.

Botulism can be fatal. It’s a muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a toxinmade by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum.

The recall only affects the products listed below that have a “BestBy” date (found on the top or bottom of the cans) of April 30, 2009 throughMay 22, 2009:

  • Austex Hot Dog Chili Sauce, 10-ounce can, UPC Barcode 30300 99533
  • Bunker Hill Chili No Beans, 10-ounce can, UPC Barcode 75266 04112
  • Castleberry’s Hot Dog Chili Sauce, 10-ounce can, UPC Barcode 3030000101
  • Castleberry’s Chili with Beans, 15-ounce can, UPC Barcode 30300 01015
  • Castleberry’s Barbeque Pork, 10-ounce can, UPC Barcode 30300 00402
  • Cattle Drive Chili with Beans, 15-ounce can, UPC Barcode 30300 01515
  • Kroger Hot Dog Chili Sauce, 10-ounce can, UPC Barcode 11110 83942
  • Meijer Corned Beef Hash, 15-ounce can, UPC Barcode 41250 95229
  • Morton House Corned Beef Hash, 15-ounce can, UPC Barcode 75266 65830
  • Southern Home Corned Beef Hash, 15-ounce can, UPC Barcode 07880 15360

The FDA is investigating possible botulism contamination in the recalledproducts and reports that two children in Texas and an Indiana couple who atethese products became seriously ill and have been hospitalized.

Consumers who have any of these products or any foods made with theseproducts should throw them away immediately. If the “Best By” date is missingor unreadable, consumers should throw the product out, according to theFDA.

What Is Botulism?

There are three main kinds of botulism:

  • Food-borne botulism, which is the type involved in the current recall
  • Infant botulism, which affects a small number of susceptible infants eachyear who have the botulism-making bacteria in their intestinal tract
  • Wound botulism, which happens when wounds are infected with thebotulism-making bacteria

According to background information on the FDA’s web site, home-canned foodsare more often a source of botulism than are commercially canned foods, whichprobably reflects the commercial canners’ great awareness and better control ofthe required heat treatment.

Botulism Symptoms

Symptoms of food-borne botulism poisoning can begin from six hours to twoweeks after eating food that contains the botulism toxin.

Botulism poisoning symptoms may include double vision, blurred vision,drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscleweakness that moves progressively down the body, affecting the shoulders firstthen descending to the upper arms, lower arms, thighs, calves, and so on.

Botulism poisoning can also paralyze the breathing muscles, which can befatal unless assistance with breathing (mechanical ventilation) isprovided.

Individuals who show any botulism poisoning symptoms and who may haverecently eaten the recalled products should immediately seek medicalattention.

Botulism doesn’t spread from person to person. Food-borne botulism can occurin all age groups.

Refund for Recalled Products

Castleberry’s Food Company is based in Augusta, Ga. Its products weredistributed nationally, so Castleberry’s urges consumers nationwide to checkthe “Best By” dates on the affected products.

Consumers may remove the label on the cans and take the labels back to theirgrocery store for a full refund. Only the label is needed for the refund;consumers should throw the recalled cans out, open or not, even if the productdoesn’t look or smell spoiled.

Castleberry’s is cooperating with investigators from the FDA, CDC, and othergovernment officials. Consumers can call the FDA at (888) SAFEFOOD.

Castleberry’s recommends consumers with any questions or concerns about thisrecall should call the company’s consumer hotline at (888) 203-8446. The FDAsays consumers may also call the FDA’s food hotline at (888) SAFEFOOD.

Show Sources

SOURCES: News release, FDA. News release, Castleberry’s Food Company.Castleberry’s Food Company: “Voluntary Product Recall Information,7/18/07.” CDC: “Facts About Botulism.” FDA’s Center for Food Safetyand Applied Nutrition: “Clostridium botulinum.” Sebastian Cianci,FDA spokesman.

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