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 at least 30 minutes.
- 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.
July 19, 2012
- Botulism. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/botulism/. Accessed March 20, 2012.
- Botulism. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec14/ch178/ch178c.html. Accessed March 20, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed March 20, 2012.
- Manfredi M, et al. Dry mouth as an initial sign of food-borne botulism: A case report and review of the literature. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology. 2011;111:e15.
- Principles of home canning. United States Department of Agriculture. http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html. Accessed March 22, 2012.
- Chalk C, et al. Medical treatment for botulism. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/view/0/index.html. Accessed March 20, 2012.
- Zhang JC, et al. Botulism, where are we now? Clinical Toxicology. 2010;48:867.
- Botox medication guide. Food and Drug Administration. www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM176360.pdf. Accessed March 22, 2012.
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