Castleberry Cans Bursting Due to Botulism Toxin

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Phoenix, AZOfficials from the Food and Drug Administration say that some of the cans involved in the recent Castleberry recall have begun to burst due to gasses created by the bacteria that cause botulism disease. The Castleberry Food Co. recalled more than 90 of the canned food products it manufactures in July after they were linked to an outbreak of botulism food poisoning.

The FDA says that the recalled cans may have been improperly sanitized at the Castleberry plant where they were manufactured, allowing the bacterium that causes botulism food poisoning to flourish inside. As these bacteria reproduce, they emit a gas which can cause contaminated cans to swell and eventually burst. Because the toxin emitted by the bacteria is extremely potent, anyone who inhales or swallows the toxin or absorbs it through the eye or skin is at a high risk of developing botulism disease.

Castleberry cansInspectors from the FDA and state health departments have begun to visit retail stores nationwide in order to ensure that all of the canned foods involved in the Castleberry recall are taken off the shelf. The FDA says that it has found recalled cans at about 250 of the stores it has inspected nationwide. The fact that recalled cans are still being found on store shelves, combined with the bursting cans, makes the agency's inspection of retail stores especially urgent, officials say.

Local health officials in Florida, Kentucky, Montana, New York and Indiana have all reported finding recalled food products on store shelves. Most of the recalled products that have been removed so far were found at smaller, independent retail stores.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that at least four people so far have been sickened with botulism food poisoning after eating products involved in the Castleberry recall. Several addition cases of botulism disease have also been reported, although health officials are uncertain if these can be linked to the Castleberry recall.

The link between the botulism food poisoning outbreak and Castleberry canned food products was first uncovered after patients in Texas and Indiana were hospitalized with the disease. The CDC began testing several food products they suspected of causing the patients' botulism symptoms before uncovering the toxin that causes the disease in Castleberry's Hot Dog Chili Sauce.

A subsequent inspection of the company's Augusta, Georgia plant found the botulism toxin in 16 out of the 17 cans of food tested by CDC inspectors. Castleberry issued the first canned food recall for 10 of its canned food products based on the agency's findings. A second Castleberry recall was issued just a few days later to include all of the products which came from the same production line as the foods involved in the initial recall.

In all, 92 canned foods were recalled by Castleberry, including chili, chili sauce, beef hash, stew, pet food and other products. These products are sold under a number of labels, including Austex, Food Club, Great Value, Triple Bar, as well as several store brands, such as Food Lion, Kroger, Piggly Wiggly and others.

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