WSU Extension

Food Safety

Bugs that make you sick - Botulism

 

Cause : Clostridium botulinum . Spore-forming bacteria that can grow and produce toxin in the absence of oxygen, such as in a sealed container or below the surface of food.

Examples of foods involved : Improperly canned low-acid food (vegetables, fish, meat, poultry), smoked fish, and improperly handled low-acid cooked foods.

Transmission : Eating food contaminated with the toxin.

Symptoms : Double vision, inability to swallow, speech difficulty, and progressive respiratory paralysis. Fatality rate is about 5%.

Onset : 12-72 hours.

Duration : Days to months.

Prevention : Follow reliable instructions for time and temperature for home canning low-acid vegetables, meat, fish and poultry. Bacterial spores in these foods are destroyed only by high temperatures obtained in the pressure canner (240°F; 115°C).

Toxin is destroyed by boiling 10 minutes or heating in the oven until the temperature of the food reaches 185°F (85°C).

Refrigerate cooked, low-acid food promptly.

Bugs that make you sick:

Bacteria
Virus
Parasite
   

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