Department Of Public Health Working To Contain Botulism Outbreak

FRANKFORT, KY (July 24, 2007) - Public health scientists and food safety experts in Kentucky are working with federal officials to reduce the risk of possible foodborne illness in association with an outbreak of botulism affecting consumers in Texas and Indiana who ate canned hot dog chili sauce. No cases linked to this outbreak have been reported in Kentucky.

Due to possible contamination with botulinum toxin, the Kentucky Department for Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are advising not to eat certain canned food products manufactured by Castleberry’s Food Company. These include certain Castleberry’s brands as well as products distributed under other brand names. The recall includes some canned dog food. A listing of the recalled products can be found at the Web sites listed below.

Foodborne botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by consuming foods that contain botulinum toxin, a nerve toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Signs and symptoms of the illness include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing and muscle weakness. If untreated, the illness can progress to paralysis. Symptoms can develop up to 10 days after eating a contaminated food and should be cause for consumers to seek medical attention immediately.

“We are not aware of any botulism cases in Kentucky related to this current outbreak, and we are working to educate consumers about the specific food items that should not be consumed in order to prevent illness,” said William Hacker, M.D., acting undersecretary for health and public health commissioner for DPH. “To ensure continued food safety in Kentucky, we’re asking that consumers safely discard items that appear on the federal recall list.”

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