Botulism Risk Cited in Pickled Beet Recall

Lakeside Foods Inc. of Wisconsin just issued a recall of about 3,000 cans of its pickled beets, which were sold between December 2009 and January 2011, Sign On Detroit just announced.

Some cans of the company’s 105-ounce pickled sliced beets could be under-processed, said Sign On Detroit, which could render them contaminated with harmful organisms including the pathogen that causes <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">botulism poisoning.

Although no illnesses have been reported, to date, it can take some time for the effects of foodborne illness to manifest.

Lakeside Foods can be reached, toll-free at 1.800.466.3834, extension 4090, or at its website at www.LakesideFoods.com.

BusinessWeek reported that defective canned pickled sliced beets were sold to food service distributors in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, from December 2009 to January 2011.

As we’ve previously explained, contamination with Clostridium botulinum spores can lead to botulism, a paralytic foodborne illness.

Botulism symptoms can include: General weakness, dizziness, double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech and trouble with speaking or swallowing, and dry mouth. Difficulty in breathing; weakness of other muscles—for instance, muscle weakness that starts at the shoulders and moves progressively down the body—abdominal distension, and constipation may also be common symptoms.
Botulism poisoning is extremely neurotoxic and can cause paralysis of breathing muscles, which can lead to death without treatment and respiratory ventilation in about eight percent of cases. People with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and children have a higher risk for botulism symptoms.

Complications can include infection and aspiration pneumonia, long-term weakness, respiratory distress, and long-term nervous system problems. While antibiotics are often used in treatment, they do not always resolve the foodborne illness.

Symptoms of botulism occur anywhere from eight to 36 hours after consuming food contaminated with the Clostridium botulinum toxin. Only a very small amount of this toxin is sufficient to lead to severe poisoning.

About 110 cases of botulism occur in the United States annually.

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