About Botulism

From the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Botulism and other foodborne illness outbreaks.

About Botulism Blog

Botulism Lawsuit Filed

On January 19, 2021, Larry Wells purchased a two-container package of Kettle Cuisine brand clam chowder at the Sam’s Club located on New Circle Road in Lexington, Kentucky. As was his usual practice, he stored the two containers in his home pantry until he was ready to eat them. Larry would typically eat the entire contents of one container at a single meal. His wife, Estelle, detested clam chowder and never ate any.

In the days following the January 19 purchase of the chowder 2-pack, Larry consumed one container. Around 6 pm on January 30, 202, Larry heated the contents of the second container of chowder. As usual, Larry consumed the entire contents. He mentioned to Estelle that the chowder has a strange smell. Afterwards the empty container was discarded in the family trash bin.

The next day, Larry woke up feeling nauseated with a “weak and a droopy” left eyelid. He sought care at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center Emergency Department. His condition worsened rapidly, and he was admitted to inpatient care. On February 3, 2021, Dr. Hanine El Haddad, infectious disease specialist at the hospital, notified the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KY DPH) that Larry Wells was hospitalized with symptoms of botulism and that his serum would be sent to the agency’s Division of Laboratory Services (DLS) for testing. Carrell Rush, Reportable Disease Section Supervisor, Division of Epidemiology and Health Planning, at the KY DPH notified agency staff, Lexington-Fayette County Health Department (LFCHD), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about her conversation with Dr. El Haddad.

Serum collected from Larry on February 3, 2021, was confirmed positive for Clostridium botulinum toxin type A on February 4. This result was reported to the CDC Public Health Officer, Laura Ford, who authorized released of Botulism Antitoxin Heptavalent. Antitoxin was administered the next day.

LFCHD epidemiologists, Mia Williams, and Hollie Sands, interviewed Estelle Wells about Larry’s symptoms and foods he consumed in the 2 days before symptom onset. Estelle told investigators about the clam chowder Larry had consumed on January 31 and noted that she had not eaten any. Estelle retrieved the original chowder container from the trash and gave it to LFCHD environmental health staff who delivered the container to the state DLS on February 4. Testing for Clostridium botulinum began the next day. DLS shared photos of the container and packaging with investigators. Photos showed the Lot Number (Lot #602563 3A2 01051) and Use By Date of (03/26/21).  On February 9, 2021, DLS reported that laboratory testing confirmed the presence of C. botulinum toxin type A in the leftover clam chowder collected from Larry Wells’ home.

Local health agencies visited area Sam’s Clubs in search of Kettle Cuisine clam chowder, Lot #602563 3A2 01051. None was found. On February 9, the FDA Seattle District office located clam chowder of the same lot at the manufacturer, Fresh Foods of Washington in Everett, Washington. Samples were shipped to the FDA laboratory in Jefferson, Arkansas for testing. However, inclement weather delayed shipment and these samples could not be tested. On February 22, 2021, three more unopened 24-ounce containers of Members Mark New England Clam Chowder, Lot Number 602563 3A2 01051, were obtained from Fresh Foods and delivered to the FDA laboratory in Arkansas. Samples of all three containers were individually analyzed. Clostridium botulinum was recovered in Sub 2.

More Beans recall due to Botulism

Randall Foods, Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio is recalling all its Randall-brand beans because of manufacturing deviations that may pose a potential health risk.  The recall includes the following products:

Brand

Description

UPC

Batch/Lot Numbers

“Best By” Date

Randall RANDALL GREAT NORTHERN BEANS 48OZ 070095000100 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL GREAT NORTHERN BEANS 24OZ 070095000117 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall
Randall
RANDALL GREAT NORTHERN BEANS 15.4OZ
RANDALL PINTO BEANS 48OZ
070095000131
070095000209
ALL
ALL
Prior to January 1 2025
Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL PINTO BEANS 24OZ 070095000216 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL PINTO BEANS 15.4OZ 070095000230 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL MIXED BEANS 48OZ 070095000407 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL MIXED BEANS 24OZ 070095000414 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL MIXED BEANS 15.4OZ 070095000430 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL KIDNEY BEANS 48OZ 070095000308 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL KIDNEY BEANS 24OZ 070095000315 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL KIDNEY BEANS 15.4OZ 070095000339 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL NAVY BEANS 48OZ 070095000506 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL NAVY BEANS 15.4OZ 070095000537 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL BLACK BEANS 48OZ 070095000605 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL BLACK BEANS 24OZ 070095000612 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL BLACK BEANS 15.4OZ 070095000636 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL GARBANZO BEANS 24OZ 070095000711 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL GARBANZO BEANS 15.4OZ 070095000735 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL ULITMATE 4-BEAN MIX 48OZ 070095000902 ALL Prior to January 1 2025
Randall RANDALL ORGANIC GREAT NORTHERN BEANS 48OZ 070095005105 ALL Prior to January 1 2025

The product is sold in 48oz, 24oz, and 15.4oz glass jars with tan labels with “Randall” at the label top.    Approximately 1.6 million cases of affected products were distributed between March 1, 2019 and May 15, 2021 at retail locations in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

The manufacturing deviations included a nonfunctioning temperature indicating device raising the possibility that the product was not effectively processed. Processing at temperatures below a required temperature could create a condition that could lead to premature spoilage or food borne illness; however, there have been no illnesses reported. The company is issuing this voluntary recall as a precaution.

Cheese recalled over Botulism fears

Primula Ltd. has recalled cheese spread in tubes in the United Kingdom and Ireland because of possible contamination with Clostridium botulinum due to a production fault.

Primula, part of the Kavli Group, recalled 10 varieties after finding one product contained Clostridium botulinum during a routine test and due to concerns other items in the range could be affected.

Manufacturing controls that could potentially affect safety of the products could not be demonstrated satisfactorily by the company, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) reported the issue relates to controlling factors to prevent the growth and toxin production by Clostridium botulinum. There’s currently been no reports of illness.

All 150-gram chilled Primula plain original cheese spread, cheese spread with smoked paprika, cheese spread with jalapeno, light cheese spread, cheese spread with ham, cheese spread with chive and cheese spread with prawn with best before dates from Dec. 25, 2020, to Jan. 28, 2021, are affected.

The ambient 100-gram versions of Primula original cheese spread, cheese spread with ham and cheese spread with chives with best before dates Oct. 30, to Dec 10, 2020, are also involved.

Botulism risk in cold smoked Salmon

Mill Stream Corp. (Sullivan Harbor Farm) of Hancock, Maine is voluntarily recalling ten lots of Cold Smoked Salmon because it has the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death. Consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was initiated because the product’s water phase salt (WPS) tested below 3.5%. This was discovered upon re-review of laboratory certificates, which were found to have incorrectly reported WPS levels. Labeling instructions state to keep refrigerated at or below 38ºF and that the product may be frozen. Because the WPS is under 3.5% the product must remain frozen until ready to consume. Product stored in the refrigerator after thawing has the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum.

The recalled product was sold between March 6, 2019 and September 17, 2019 in vacuum sealed packages in the following sizes: whole salmon side, 2 lb., 1 lb., 8 oz., and 4 oz.  The affected product is marked with the following lot numbers marked on the back of the packages: 7049, 7050, 7051, 7052, 7054, 7056, 7058, 7060, 7062, 7066.

The smoked salmon products were sold and distributed in ME, MA, VT, RI, NY, CT, PA, NJ, OH, UT, IA, TN, MN,CO,FL, AZ,WI, WA, GA, IL, VA, MI, TX. The products sold were through retail, wholesale and online orders.

The affected product was sold frozen by Mill Stream Corp, but may have been thawed by retailers before sale. Consumers who purchased the product frozen are advised to keep it frozen until ready to use and thaw under refrigeration immediately before use. If a consumer has refrigerated product subject to the recall, they should dispose of it immediately even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

Salmon with Botulism Risk

Another company is recalling Grained Salmon Caviar 95g made from sockeye salmon because it has the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death.

AWERS Inc. of Bellevue, WA, says the Grained Salmon Caviar 95g was distributed in California, New York, Oregon, Washington and product may have further distributed to other states and Canada.

As noted in a CFIA report Aug. 15, and according to the most current recall notice posted by the FDA, the product was reviewed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and sent to a lab for testing.

“The analysis showed a lower than normal salt content, which can foster an anaerobic environment which is necessary to breed the Clostridium botulinum bacteria.” Although no Clostridium botulinum bacteria was detected in product, consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled,” according to the FDA.

No illnesses have been reported to date as of the posting of the Aug. 15 recall notice.

According to the recall notice, the recalled product is packed in a metal tin with Cyrillic lettering. The tin is green, with red and white writing with an easy open pull lid. The “BEST BEFORE OCT 07 2020” is printed on the bottom on the tin.

“This recall is being made with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

Food contaminated with Clostridium botulinum toxin may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms in adults can include paralysis of breathing muscles, facial paralysis or loss of facial expression, unreactive or fixed pupils, difficulty swallowing, drooping eyelids, blurred or double vision, difficulty speaking or including slurred speech, and a change in sound of voice, including hoarseness.

Additionally, symptoms of foodborne botulism in children can include difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, generalized weakness and paralysis. In all cases, botulism does not cause a fever.

In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as soon as six hours or as long as 10 days after exposure.

Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled Grained Salmon Caviar product and developed symptoms of botulism poisoning should immediately seek medical attention and inform their doctors about the possible exposure.

According to the recall notice, consumers must inform AWERS, Inc. if they possess any Grained Salmon Caviar 95g tins with “BEST BEORE OCT 07 2020”.

Hummus is a Botulism Risk

Two cases of foodborne botulism linked to hummus have been confirmed by Argentinian health authorities.

The National Administration of Drugs, Foods and Medical Devices (ANMAT) reported that an investigation confirmed the botulism cases and results of an epidemiological survey determined illness was associated with a hummus product.

Hummus was sold under the brand Tsuki Macro Vegan, which is based in Palermo, Buenos Aires.

The General Directorate of Hygiene and Food Safety and ANMAT inspected the processing establishment where the product was made and imposed a ban on processing and marketing. It was also detected that the product did not have the relevant sanitary authorization.

The processing firm was asked to carry out an immediate withdrawal from the national market of all units of the implicated branded hummus.

ANMAT advised the public to refrain from consuming the product, to keep the containers closed and separated from other foods. The agency also told those who sell the products to stop marketing it.

Botulism is a rare but life-threatening condition caused by toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food. However, they can start as soon as six hours after or up to 10 days later.

Botulism can cause symptoms including general weakness, dizziness, double-vision, and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also occur. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

The latest incident follows a different outbreak in Rancul, a town in the La Pampa province of Argentina at the start of the month with four suspected cases.

Health authorities in La Pampa reported that four people older than 57 years old were in a serious condition and needed hospital treatment. The poisoning was a result of a meal shared by seven friends in Rancul.

The suspected source is preserves such as peppers that were prepared in a homemade way by one of the people who fell ill.

Smoke Salmon Recalled over Botulism Fears

Smoked Alaska Seafoods, Inc. of Wasilla, AK is recalling all jars and cans of Smoked Silver Salmon in 6.5 oz. containers with the production code of AL81111133 on the bottom of the jar/can because it has the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death. Consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

The Smoked Silver Salmon was sold to distributors throughout the state of Alaska primarily in gift stores in the Anchorage and Fairbanks area.

Smoked Alaska Seafoods, Inc. produces several species of smoked salmon in flexible retortable pouches, glass jars and black two-piece metal cans.  The flexible retortable pouches are not affected by this recall.

Botulism Risk – Canned Corn Recall

Del Monte Foods Inc. announced a recall of 64,242 cases of FIESTA CORN Seasoned with Red & Green Peppers due to under-processing. These deviations were part of the commercial sterilization process and could result in contamination by spoilage organisms or pathogens, which could lead to life-threatening illness if consumed. It is important to note that there have been no reports of illness associated with these products to date. No other production codes or products are affected by this recall.

The products subject to recall are 15.25-ounce (432g) cans with the following UPC number printed on the label: 24000 02770. The product will also have one of the following “Best if Used By” dates stamped on the bottom of the can:

August 14, 2021
August 15, 2021
August 16, 2021
Sept 3, 2021
Sept 4, 2021
Sept 5, 2021
Sept 6, 2021
Sept 22, 2021
Sept 23, 2021

The product was distributed to multiple distributors and retail locations in 25 states and 12 international locations.

States: Alaska, Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

International locations: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, El Salvador, Haiti, Guyana, Uruguay, Aruba, Panama, Saint Lucia, Suriname.

Smoked Kippers and Cold Smoked Salmon Botulism Recall

Masstown Market is recalling Masstown Market brand Smoked Kippers and Cold Smoked Salmon from the marketplace because they may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below.

Recalled products

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
Masstown Market Smoked Kippers Variable weight 18.MR.30 Starts with
0 208172
Masstown Market Cold Smoked Salmon Variable weight 18.MR.27
18.AL.07
18.AL.11
Starts with
0 208035

Pork Soup with Botulism Risk sent to Florida, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Texas and Washington

Guymon Extracts recalled about 4,202 pounds of pork soup late Tuesday night after a processing problem left the soup vulnerable to spore-forming bacteria, including the one that causes botulism.

“Botulism is a life-threatening disease caused by the ingestion of a potent neurotoxin produced during growth of the C. botulinum bacteria,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture site explains. “This neurotoxin is among the most toxic substances known; even microscopic amounts can cause illness or death.”

That’s why this is a Class 1, High Health Risk recall, which the USDA defines as, “a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.”

Despite that, the recall comes seven days after an investigator found the problem while doing a food safety assessment at the processing facility. The soup, packaged Jan. 3, went to Florida, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Texas and Washington.
Along with the botulism bacteria, the recall notice mentioned Clostridium perfringens. That bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, causes “one million cases of foodborne illness in the United States each year.”

“Pork Soup with Rendered Pork Fat (from bone)” comes in 2.2-pound bags, 10 per case, with a best-by date of Dec. 22, 2019, a lot code 010218-1 and a product code of 61306.

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