Castleberry's Foods: A Modern-Day Botulism Scare

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Augusta, GAIt has been awhile since the B-word has surfaced, but thanks to a voluntary recall of tainted canned meat product by Castleberry's, botulism is once again on everyone's lips.

If not in everyone's cupboard; we can only hope that's not the case.

Over the last several days Castleberry's Food Company, a subsidiary of Bumble Bee Foods LLC, has voluntarily recalled more than 721,000 pounds of canned meat products that may carry Clostridium Botulism, which is an extremely serious health hazard.

Castleberry canned meatThe recall includes, but is not limited to: Castleberry's Bunker Hill, Original Chilli No Beans, Castleberry's Chilli with Beans, Castleberry's Hickory Smoked, Oven Roasted, with Skins, Barbecue Pork in Barbecue Sauce, Cattle Drive Chilli with Beans, Meijer Corned Beef Hash, Morton House Corned Beef Hash, and Southern Home Corned Beef Hash.

Included in the recall are canned dog food products, and all tolled millions of cans have been affected. The tainted Castleberry's product was shipped to several states.

A complete list of products, including their names and codes, can be found at the[FDA website]. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is stick-handling the recall with Castleberry's and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) in Atlanta.

The potential for concern is warranted, given the profile of botulism. The modern, post-war canning process has all but eliminated botulism from modern existence. However, if the bacteria survive and incubate inside the sealed can, the impact to whomever consumes the contents can be devastating.

One of the most recent reports is of a man from New Mexico hospitalized July 26th after eating what is believed to have been a can of the contaminated food. According to the Associated Press, the man is in serious condition suffering from paralysis, and can only wiggle his toes. He tested positive for botulism in preliminary tests.

Earlier in July the CDCP reported that as of July 22nd four people had been hospitalized: two siblings from West Texas who had eaten a can of contaminated hot dog chilli and two more cases identified in Indiana.

Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin. Symptoms of botulism include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. The illness can cause paralysis, respiratory failure and death. Symptoms usually occur from 18 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food.

It was on June 28th, according to documentation submitted by the CDCP, that the two siblings from Abernathy consumed the contents of a can of Castleberry's Austex Hot Dog Chilli Sauce Original for lunch. The pair began showing signs of botulism contamination the next day, including eye problems and paralysis.

They were hospitalized, and the State Health Services reported the matter to the CDCP on July 7th.

It is believed that an equipment malfunction at Castleberry's Augusta manufacturing facility is the basis for the concern. Investigators with the FDA are working with the assumption that some, or all, of the recalled product was not properly cooked, allowing for the Clostridium botulism bacteria to survive the canning process.

In addition to the recall at the retail level, public health officials are busy notifying food banks, churches and residential care facilities with regard to the recall.

There is the potential for affected cans to be sitting on food bank shelves, negatively impacting people in need.

An equipment malfunction is suspected in the Castleberrys' Foods processing plant.

Castleberry's Canned Meat Legal Help

If you or a loved one has suffered damages in this canned meat case, please contact a lawyer involved in a possible [Castleberry's Canned Meat Lawsuit] who will review your case at no cost or obligation.

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