Hot Dog Chili Sauce in Botulism Recall

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

WASHINGTON – Federal health officials warned consumers Wednesday to throw away certain cans of hot dog chili sauce after the product was linked to botulism that has sent four people to the hospital.

The warning applies to 10-ounce cans of Castleberry’s, Austex and Kroger brands of hot dog chili sauce with “best by” dates from April 30, 2009, through May 22, 2009, the Food and Drug Administration said. It wasn’t immediately clear how widely the products were distributed.

The contamination by the toxin is extremely rare for a commercially canned product. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention medical epidemiologist Dr. Michael Lynch said the last such U.S. case dates to the 1970s. The roughly 25 cases reported each year typically involved home-canned foods, Lynch said.

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The four victims _ two each in Texas and Indiana _ are expected to survive. The Texas cases involve children who are siblings. The Indiana cases involve adult family members. No other details were available.

The products were made by the Castleberry Food Co., owned by Bumble Bee Seafoods LLC. The company is based in San Diego.

FDA has sent experts to the Castleberry plant in Augusta, Ga., where the products were canned, said Robert Brackett, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. The company is voluntarily recalling all potentially contaminated product and is cooperating with state and federal officials, Brackett added.

Botulism is a muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a toxin made by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, according to the CDC.

Brackett urged consumers to discard any of the recalled cans without opening them.

“The toxin is so potent if they get it on their hands or it sprays in their face, it could make them ill,” he said.

On the Net:

Castleberry Food Co.:

CDC botulism information:

A service of the Associated Press(AP)