FAQ - Botulism
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Where does botulism come from?

I have gone to several web sites to try to find out where the bacteria botulism comes from to contaminate food with no real results. Does anyone really know?

Botulism is a naturally occurring bacteria that's in dirt/soil.
How does it contaminate food? Dirty hands, dirty equipment, on the food itelf (for example, honey and garlic)... etc.

In low acid foods and no oxygen, the bacteria produces toxins that can be harmful to consume.

When food is reheated properly, the toxins are destroyed.  (+ info)

Can botulism grow in uncooked frozen year old cinnamon bund rolls?

there was a container of pillsbury cinnamon bund rolls in the freezer. the metal ends of the container were a little rusted but not buldging. however when i opened it it hissed, but since the container says the lid should pop open i baked and ate it... then noticed it was more than a year old. it smelled and tasted fine, but now im worried about botulism. the fact that it hissed when i opend it, and the metal ends where rusty worried me when i noticed the experation date. just thinking about it gave me a headache and made me dizzy... am i exagerating? should i be worried? P.S. I threw the rest out.

I wouldn't make them because you aren't suppose to put metal in the freezer/fridge...i think it speeds up the process or something...its better to be safe than sorry  (+ info)

Would a botulism attack be considered biological or chemical warfare?

I need to know for a school report.

Botulism is an infection with the germ clostridium botulinum. It has been "weaponized", but biological weapons are notoriously unreliable. I wouldn't worry too much about being attacked with it - anyhow, there's your answer - it's a biological weapon.  (+ info)

How is botulism used to treat other disorders?

If you could provide specific details and websites, that would be great. Thanks to everyone!

botulism is used in botox.. google botox.  (+ info)

How long does it take to recover completely from botulism?

Or will the person have problems for the rest of their lives from it?

Simple cases may take several weeks. Severe cases may take several months, up to a year. Some symptoms, such as fatigue or shortness of breath may last for years. Typically, recovery can take from one month to a little longer than 3 months, depending on the severity of the infection, complications and any co-existing medical conditions.  (+ info)

can you get botulism from pop cans?

if you drink a can of pop or any drink that is contained in an aluminum can with a dent in it, is it possible to get botulism?
or is it only possible with the metal soup cans?

I dont think its possible with aluminium cans, no.

I have never heard of it and I am always reading warnings about health things!

What is botulism?

It is poisoning from eating a toxin formed in food contaminated with the spores of a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. These spores are widespread in the environment, but are harmless when oxygen is present. They may produce the toxin if they are an environment that contains no oxygen, such as inside a can or jar of improperly canned food.

How is it spread?

Clostridium botulinum spores are common in the soil and can often be found on agricultural products.
Poorly prepared, home canned vegetables and fruits are the most common source. Toxins are formed when foods are inadequately heated during canning.
Illnesses have also occurred with commercial products such as potpies, baked potatoes, and sauteed onions and cured foods in airtight packaging.
Honey can be a source of botulism for infants because honey often contains Clostridium botulinum spores


Follow proper home canning techniques (the time, pressure, and temperature required to destroy spores.)
Never eat food from damaged cans (food cans with slits, holes, dents or bulges).
Do not feed honey or honey-water to infants.  (+ info)

Can pickling garlic cause botulism?

My mom has a method of "pickling" I suppose you can call it, from the old country. She basically puts boiled lukewarm, vegetables like cabbage, carrots, celery, cauliflower, parsley, dill and some cloves of garlic (all raw), salt and a touch of sugar together in a plastic jar. She puts it out at room temperature on the counter. She then stirs it everyday. Is there anything unsafe about that? I mean like how garlic in oil made at home, particularly stored at room temperature, can quite easily cause botulism. They've been doing it forever, and so I don't THINK there's anything wrong with that, but never can be sure I suppose.

Good for her! Naturally fermented pickles are delicious and healthy. The reason you don't have to worry about botulism with this process is that Clostridium botulinum (the bacterium responsible for botulism), is anaerobic, which means it cannot survive in the presence of air. The salt she adds will also inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria, but does not affect the lactobacilli which create the pickling acid.

If you've observed the fermenting vegetables, you'll note what appears to be a slow fizzing or bubbling. This is the formation of carbon dioxide. Lactic acid is another by-product of this process and is the magic ingredient which turns a vegetable into a pickle ;). Most bacteria cannot survive in an acidic environment. In addition, when your mom stirs the vegetables, she is incorporating more air into the mix and releasing the excess pressure caused by the build-up of carbon dioxide. Botulism doesn't have a prayer in this environment!

When vegetables are put into oil, it's a different situation. Oil locks out the oxygen, giving a very hospitable environment for C. botulinum which forms the lethal toxin. Adding salt wouldn't help either, since it isn't soluble in oil.

Fermentation is a fun (and fragrant) process. I use a ceramic crock or glass jar because I let them get really sour, and worry about the acid leaching out components from the plastic, but that's just me.  (+ info)

Can you get botulism from having open cans of food in the refridgerator?

I thought that you could get it from having anything in an open can in the fridge, but I went to look it up online and didn't find anything saying that you can get it from that. However, I've heard that you can get it like that for years from so many different people.

This is a myth from many years ago, I believe. It used to be said that you didn't store food in an opened can because you could get botulism from it, and were supposed to put the can contents into a different container. I believe this is due to a process called, "de-tinning" where acidic foods react with the tin can. Here is a quote from a website that may help, and here is the link to the website. Quote, "Can food be safely stored in metal containers?

Leaving fruit juices, tuna fish or other canned fruits and vegetables in the original metal can is not recommended. Acidic foods can interact with the metal, imparting a metallic taste to the food. To avoid this unpleasant experience, transfer leftover foods or juices to sealable glass or plastic containers. If a product stored in a can is accidentally tasted or eaten, the food may taste bad but it will not be dangerous. "


Hope that helps  (+ info)

When a food can has been dented, it it possible that botulism can start to form in the contents of the can?

dented cans don't cause botulism.

botulism is a bacteria. it would have been in the food product when it was packaged.

swollen cans are a sign of possible botulism contamination.  (+ info)

Could I have eaten something with botulism?

I ate some ravioli out of the can earlier without noticing that there was a small dent in the top of the can. It wasn't bloated or anything, but I'm still afraid that it could have had botulism. Should I be worried, or am I being paranoid?

The botulism toxin acts fairly fast so if it were not safe, you probably had serious problems. Don't worry but be careful everytime you eat canned food and if you can boil them for 20 minutes so that if any toxin exists, the boiling heat denatures that.  (+ info)

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