What is foodborne botulism or Clostridium botulinum?

Foodborne botulism is a disease (actually a foodborne intoxication) caused by toxins produced by the growth of the baterium Clostridium botulinum. Foodborne botulism is a severe type of food poisoning caused by the ingestion of foods containing a potent toxin that affects the nervous sytem. The toxin can be destroyed if food is boiled (212° F or 100°C) for 10 minutes or longer. Although the incidence of the disease is low, the mortality rate is high if the patient is not treated immediately and properly. Onset of symptoms usually occurs 18 to 36 hours after ingestion of the food containing the toxin, although onset has varied from 4 hours to 8 days.

Most of the 10 to 30 outbreaks reported annually in the United States are associated with inadequately processed, home-canned foods, but occasionally commercially produced foods have been involved in outbreaks. Sausages, meat products, canned vegetables and seafood products are the most frequent vehicles for foodborne botulism in humans.

More Information on Botulism:

  • Article History
    • Revision Date: 6/22/2010

Food Safety Tip of the Day

Clean your plate.

IAFP - cross contamination icon

Keeping raw and cooked food separate a major step to preventing cross contamination. Never place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board that previously held raw food. Separate plates should be used for raw and cooked foods because the juices from the raw food can contain illness-causing bacteria that will then contaminate the properly cooked food.

Source: Partnership for Food Safety Education


Foodborne Pathogen of the Day

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