Company widely expands botulism recall

Jul 23, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The company that recalled its chili sauce last week after four people got sick with suspected botulism poisoning dramatically expanded the recall over the weekend to include products that contain meat, including one dog food brand.

Steve Mavity, senior vice president of technical services and quality assurance for Castleberry's, based in Augusta, Ga., said in a press release 2 days ago that the company believes it has isolated the botulism problem to underprocessing that occurred on one line of the production facility.

"We have shut down this line altogether and are recalling all products produced on it," Mavity said in the press release.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a statement 2 days ago that the recall was expanded after federal officials found that processing malfunctions at the plant existed longer than initially thought. 

The recall now includes chili, beef stew, hash, corned beef hash, barbecue pork, barbecue beef, chipped beef, Brunswick stew, sausage gravy, and four types of Natural Balance dog food. More than 80 products are included in the expanded recall, which affects at least 24 different brands. A full list of recalled products can be found on the company's Web site, www.castleberrys.com.

The USDA said that all of the affected products that contain meat and are under its inspection services bear the establishment number "EST. 195" inside the USDA inspection seal.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an update yesterday that botulinum toxin was identified in leftover chili sauce from an unlabeled sealable bag collected from a patient's refrigerator.

Only one product is implicated in the cases of the people who were sickened: Castleberry's hot dog chili sauce.

No new cases have been reported to the CDC besides the four suspected cases that were initially announced by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Jul 19. They include two children from Texas and an Indiana couple. The CDC said the onset dates range from Jun 29 to Jul 9, 2007.

Few details were available about the patients; however, Castleberry's said the FDA told them two of the cases had been confirmed.

Botulinum toxin is a nerve poison produced by Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium commonly found in soil. Botulism symptoms include double or blurred vision, droopy eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness, according to the CDC. If untreated, the illness can progress to paralysis of the limbs, trunk, and breathing muscles.

People who have any of the recalled products should throw them away, and anyone who shows symptoms and may have consumed one of the affected products should seek medical attention immediately, the FDA has said.

See also:

Jul 21 USDA press release

Jul 22 CDC press release
http://www.cdc.gov/botulism/botulism.htm

Jul 20 CIDRAP News story "FDA warns of possible link between botulism and chili sauce"

CIDRAP overview of botulism

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