Use proper canning techniques
Be sure to use proper techniques when canning foods at home to ensure that any botulism germs in the food are destroyed:
- Pressure cook these foods at 250 F (121 C) for 20 to 100 minutes, depending on the food.
- Consider boiling these foods for 10 minutes before serving them.
Prepare and store food safely
- Don't eat preserved food if its container is bulging or if the food smells spoiled. However, taste and smell won't always give away the presence of C. botulinum. Some strains don't make food smell bad or taste unusual.
- If you wrap potatoes in foil before baking them, eat them hot or store them in the refrigerator — not at room temperature.
- Store oils infused with garlic or herbs in the refrigerator.
To reduce the risk of infant botulism, avoid giving honey — even a tiny taste — to babies under the age of 1 year.
To prevent wound botulism and other serious bloodborne diseases, never inject or inhale street drugs.
June 13, 2015
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- Chalk C, et al. Medical treatment for botulism. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008123.pub3/abstract. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Principles of home canning. National Center for Home Food Preservation. http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Rosow LK, et al. Infant botulism: Review and clinical update. Pediatric Neurology 2015;52:487.