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

Toss the towel

Paper towel roll

Damp towels and sponges provide a prime environment for pathogen and other bacteria to grow. Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. When done, throw away the towel. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

Source: Partnership for Food Safety Education


Foodborne Pathogen of the Day

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