New Food Scare: Botulism Cases Reported

botulism, home canningI'm feeling less and less sure about the safety of our food supply. After the Peanut Butter Scare of 2009, I'm wondering if I need to boil everything from pickles to M&Ms just to be sure our treats are bacteria-free. But that's pretty unrealistic, not to mention gross.

And here's more news to add to our fears: The product, Steamed Mackarel, sold in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Ohio and Michigan could be contaminated with botulism spores. The NY State Agricultural Department is warning consumers to avoid this product that is sold in uncoded, half-pound plastic bags.


In Spokane, Wash, a woman who canned her own green beans is also suffering from botulism along with her 3 young children. This is scary--as she was probably hoping to be healthier and save money by growing and canning herself. Home canners just need to be double sure to follow strict safety rules when canning. Check the group Home-Canning Mommies for tips that work. Also, check out the USDA's Complete Guide to Home Canning.

Botulism is one of the most serious forms of food poisoning. Luckily, it's very rate. Botulism is caused by bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, which release poison into our blood. The toxic travels to attack nerves that control muscles.

Symptoms of botulism are:

  • blurred or double vision
  • general weakness
  • poor reflexes
  • difficulty swallowing
  • respiratory paralysys

Are you more concerned now than before about food safety?

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