Infant botulism claims 6-month-old Tokyo boy who was fed honey

The Japan Times reports that a 6-month-old boy in Adachi Ward, Tokyo, died late last month of infant botulism after his family fed him honey, according to the metropolitan government.

Metropolitan officials said it was the first death caused by infant botulism in Japan since 1986, when the government began compiling such statistics.

The officials warned that babies younger than 1 should not be given honey.

They said the Adachi boy died March 30. He developed a cough on Feb. 16, and was taken to a hospital by ambulance on Feb. 20 after going into convulsions and suffering respiratory failure. He was diagnosed Feb. 28 as having infant botulism.

The officials said the boy’s family had been giving him honey mixed in juice twice a day for about a month, and that they were not aware babies should not be fed honey.

The bacteria Clostridium botulinum was found in an unsealed honey container in the family’s house and in the boy’s excrement. A public health center confirmed that the boy’s death was caused by botulism poisoning.

Infant botulism can occur when newborns, who have immature digestive systems, ingest bacteria that produces toxins inside the bowels.


3 sick with botulism in Spain and Germany linked to dried salted fish

Two cases of botulism in the province of Alicante and another in Germany linked to a brand of dried salted fish produced in The Netherlands has led to it being withdrawn from sale in various parts of Spain.

dried-roach-fish-salted-hanged-log-wall-drying-50980748Salted roach (rutilus rutilus, known in Spanish and branded as such in supermarkets asrutilo), stocked in refrigeration cabinets and bearing the identification number NL-6114-EG, distributed by Monolith Alimentos España Sur (in Valencia) and Norte (in Catalunya) has been taken off the shelves after two consumers in the province of Alicante reported having been apparently affected by the bug.

Both showed ‘very similar symptoms’, although it has yet to be confirmed whether they caught botulism from eating dried roach.

All supermarkets and delicatessens in the towns of Dénia, Altea, La Nucia, Torrevieja, Benidorm, Orihuela and Alicante city have taken it off the shelves, as have those in the province of Castellón, Gandia (Valencia province) and Valencia city.

In Catalunya, shops in Barcelona, Badalona and Sabadell (Barcelona province), Salou (Tarragona province) and Lleida have withdrawn it from sale.

The Spanish Consumer, Food Safety and Nutrition Agency (AECOSAN), part of the ministry of health, says it has received a European alert after a case of botulism in Germany thought to have been caused by the same product.

Black Bean and Yam Chili manufactured by Hinty’s recalled due to potential C. bot

With Amy gluten intolerant, my shopping experiences last about twice as long and I need a couple of pairs of glasses: Can’t you people make the labels so grumpy grandfathers like me can read the fucking things?

But she loves the Mexican food and I’m sorta learning how to make it, and will have my first batch of homemade refried beans — from beans, not a can — going next week – because why does it cost twice as much to have beans that have already been cooked be cooked again?

black-bean-chili-bot-nov-16That’s not what refried beans are? Change the name.

Same with chili. It’s just beans and slop, because is a ridiculous cost versus the ingredients, and seems to be getting recalled routinely because these processors have forgotten the basics of canning.

Hinty’s is recalling Black Bean and Yam Chili from the marketplace because it may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below.

Brand Name//Common Name//Size//Code(s) on Product//UPC

None//Black Bean and Yam Chili//Approximately 500 mL//All units sold up to and including November 2, 2016//None

None//Black Bean and Yam Chili//Approximately 1 L//All units sold up to and including November 2, 2016//None

This recall was triggered by test results. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

1 dead from botulism linked to olives in Rome

Thanks to my Italian food safety friend for forwarding this and, as usual, something may be lost in translation.

olives-2Il Messaggero reports the ordeal for the victim began one evening in late August when Mrs. Anna C. decided to put on the table one of the three packages of olives purchased a month earlier in a supermarket. The husband shortly feels the onset of illness, and Mrs C. has severe pain in the belly.

Within a day and a half the couple rush to the closest hospital. The prognosis in the emergency room is clear: “Food poisoning from botulism.” The first investigations focus on the olives. The woman appears in serious condition. The doctors noted in the medical record that this is a case of “sepsis staphylococcal pneumonia with pleural effusion.” She is transfered to an immediate resuscitation room. The husband is held for five days for foodborne botulism, recovers and is discharged.

Anna remains in a coma for almost a month, then her state of health improves. On October 8, after 40 days of hospitalization, the patient is invited to go home in a system of protected discharge. The doctors write down that she had “had a steady improvement that had been weaned from the ventilator ” and then continued clinical monitoring for persistent pericardial effusion share.”

Ten days later, on October 18, the family members of the woman call an ambulance to rush back to the hospital. She died on October 21.

The hospital has an initial autopsy. Yesterday, an order was added for a new autopsy and further toxicological investigations, prepared by the prosecutor. The cremation scheduled for November 9 is suspended. A few hours after receipt of the legal complaint of the family, the lawyer Armando Fergola, the deputy prosecutor Antonio Clemente, ordered the appointment of a medical examiner to determine the cause of death. And at the same entry in the register of suspects for the health personnel who assisted and discharged the patient. A duty, in the first steps of the investigation, also to ensure the people involved in the affair to appoint professional advisers.

“The case is alarming,” said the lawyer Fergola, “We found ourselves in a botulism infection and then to a possible case of medical malpractice. A family now awaits answers. ” The victim left her husband and two children.

1 dead, 3 sick from botulism in Armenia

A foodborne botulism case has been registered in the capital city.

peppers-armenia-botAs a result of food poisoning 4 victims have been hospitalized, one of which died. The cause for food intoxication was the use of homemade canned peppers. The family members had eaten the canned peppers on October 26th. 24 hours after the intake, one of the family members felt typical symptoms of botulism, while for the rest of the family the symptoms emerged on the 3rd day. The first victim was taken to Armenia Republican Medical Center, where he died yesterday. The other members of the family are still receiving treatment. 

Tajikistan concerned over increasing number of botulism cases

Asia Plus reports that Tajik Deputy Prime Minister, Azim Ibrohim, who also heads the Council for Food Safety Issues, has expressed concern about increasing number of botulism cases in Tajikistan. Council for Food Safety Issues reportedly held a meeting here yesterday.

Speaking at the meeting, Ibrohim demanded that heads of good safety management bodies give reports on implementation of the plan of work for the first half-year of 2016.

It was noted that the number of botulism cases has increased in the country and that the home-canned vegetables are the most common cause of botulism.

Ibrohim ordered the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and other relevant bodies to prepare the guide to home canning.

Ibrohim reportedly drew attention of meeting participants to slow introduction of the ISO 22000 standard.


Homemade or prison-made, hootch has risks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a botulism outbreak at the federal prison in Yazoo City after 17 inmates became ill from drinking homemade alcohol.

27-Alcohol-Still-Heating-CoilLast week, the inmates consumed alcohol they made in the prison, according to Mississippi Department of Health spokesperson Liz Sharlot.

The inmates then began showing signs of botulism and required hospitalization. They were transferred to three hospitals in the Jackson area and each received an anti-toxin, Sharlot said.

To date, 15 of the 17 inmates remain hospitalized, according to a press release issued by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. One inmate was transferred to a federal prison in Oklahoma City before he began showing signs of botulism. He was also hospitalized.

According to Sharlot, the inmates were hospitalized over the course of the week, with one hospitalized over the weekend.

The outbreak is the sixth botulism  in the United States prison system since 2004, Sharlot said.

Meanwhile, a Queensland father has been found guilty of killing his son and two friends — and seriously injuring a second son — by accidentally giving them a toxic home brew.

The jury delivered its verdict against William Neil Clarence Lynam after three hours of deliberation, finding him guilty of three counts of manslaughter and one of grievous bodily harm.

Lynam had pleaded not guilty to each of the four charges.


Dear Abby: how do I avoid botulism?

Doug introduced me to John Prine about 15 years ago. I’ve got a bunch of Prine albums in my iTunes and Dear Abby, from Sweet Revenge is a great kitchen sing-along song.

Food safety questions pop up in the Dear Abby-type advice columns, this weeks version from

Q: How do I avoid botulism poisoning in my potato salad and deviled eggs during the summer picnic season? I am very concerned about this.220px-Pauline_Phillips_1961

— Chris Snashall, Grove City, Ohio

A: Let’s first distinguish between botulism and other forms of foodborne illnesses.
Botulism is a severe illness in which a nerve toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum causes paralysis — and in severe cases, death.

Botulism is most often caused by food that isn’t properly home-canned. Typically it results when low-acid foods (such as potatoes or green beans) are not pressure-canned; the high temperature of that process is required to make them safe.

Because the botulinum toxin is destroyed by high temperatures, people who eat home-canned foods should, to ensure safety, consider boiling the food for 10 minutes before eating it. (or follow evaluated, science-based recipes/processing times -ben)

Other common causes of botulism are home-made herb or garlic oils that aren’t refrigerated, and potatoes that have been wrapped in foil to bake and either not kept hot enough or refrigerated in the foil. In both cases, the bacteria are left at a temperature at which they can multiply rapidly. (first they go from spore form to vegetative cell and then secrete the toxin while multiplying -ben).

Unless you are making your potato salad and deviled eggs with home-canned foods, botulism should not be a concern.

In 2015, home canned potatoes used in potato salad caused one of the largest bot outbreaks in the U.S. with over 20 illnesses and two deaths.

Canned potato outbreak linked to two deaths in 2015

I really am scared of botulism. Not in an irrational way – I get the risk calculation stuff.

Prevalence is low but consequence is way high. Like months of health problems. Which might lead to death before recovery.ChBGKI-WgAAoAh7

Tragically, the 2015 Lancaster Ohio botulism outbreak claimed a second life (initial reports cited one, Kim Shaw) according to My Fox 28.

A second woman passed away from the botulism contamination that poisoned 21 other people at a church pot luck last year.

The family of Marcella Barbee, 65, said she died in November 2015.

Barbee was a member of Cross Pointe Church and had contracted botulism following the church potluck and suffered from a number of health issues as a result.

A botulism outbreak a year later: ‘It was all just a big accident’

A year ago a group of folks went to a fellowship event at a small town Ohio church; they ate a potluck meal including potato salad.

As the foodborne epidemiologists used to say, ‘it’s always the potato salad’; usually referring to staph toxin outbreaks – where dishes sit out at room temperature either in the preparer’s home, during the transport, or before everyone lines up to eat.DSCF4433

Except usually it isn’t (see our list of community meal outbreaks here).

But this time it was.

But it wasn’t staph; 22 community members got botulism. One died.

A year later, according to Fox 28, the community is still feeling the effects.

“It is more than a dream. It’s a nightmare anybody that lives through it will tell you it is a nightmare,” said Linda Large, whose husband Ben was the first victim diagnosed with botulism. Large credits the good Lord with getting her husband through a year of a debilitating illness.

“Believing in the Lord knowing that he was with me and he carried me through this, that is the only way, no other answer or explanation,” said Ben, 61 who has since retired early due to his health struggles. But the couple is thankful they are still around to enjoy ten grandchildren.

The family of Kim Shaw, 55, who died in the outbreak is still coming to grips with what happened.

Shaw’s husband, Christopher, said he has a new outlook on life after Kim’s passing.

Christopher said every morning he wakes up thinking the botulism outbreak was a dream. “I am patiently waiting for the dream to be over.”

As for the woman who brought the tainted potato salad to the potluck, Shaw said he doesn’t blame her.

“She made that potato salad with love. She canned those potatoes with love. Nothing I could say to that poor lady that would make her feel worse than she already does.”

Victims said they can never thank the community and the hospital workers enough for standing by them. The congregation said the crisis has made them stronger. There have been no more potlucks since the outbreak, but many more things shared.

“This is a family, a church family. It was all just a big accident, and we hope it will never happen again,” said Shaw.