(ETX Daily Up) – The Gironde prefecture shared the report of cases of botulism treated by the Bordeaux University Hospital at the start of the week. A can of sardines served by a restaurateur was questioned, reaffirming the health danger posed by poorly sterilized artisanal jars. But they are not the only ones to be responsible for botulism… Here are the other foods to which you should also pay attention, without giving in to panic.
In general, canned foods are the first to be blamed if botulism is suspected. And there is a good reason: the toxin that the Clostridium botulinum bacteria generates after an incubation period of a few hours to a few days is found mainly in poorly preserved foods. We logically point the finger at poorly sterilized homemade jars. According to the World Health Organization, the bacteria has been found in “preserved, slightly acidic vegetables such as green beans, spinach, mushrooms and beets.”
It only takes a small dose to become infected. According to the Pasteur Institute, botulism is fatal in 5 to 10% of cases, depending on the type of toxin. The bacteria in question is found all around us. It can be present in the earth as well as in plants, otherwise in the intestines of animals, whether fish or pigs. “As they only develop in the absence of oxygen, vacuum-packed and canned foods are the most frequently contaminated” explains the Ministry of Agriculture.
The cold cuts
Once this observation has been established, we then easily understand the reasons for also being cautious when consuming foods resulting from cured meats or preparations based on offal, otherwise raw or cooked meat, in short, cold meats. This concerns pâté, raw or cooked ham, but also sausages. Please note that the name of the infection comes from the Latin botulus, which means… blood sausage.
Dried and smoked fish
Herring, salmon, trout… A fortiori, we must be vigilant when consuming seafood that has been smoked. They have not been cooked and are stored vacuum-packed. According to the World Health Organization, this also concerns fish which have only undergone a salting stage. We can thus take the example of the salmon gravlax recipe, consisting of “cooking” the fish only by covering it with salt. Even canned tuna should be carefully observed before consumption, according to the WHO. “If there is the slightest doubt, if the product has a different color or an abnormal odor, especially if the can is swollen, or if the can or jar does not make a sound when opened, it is better to throw the product away. It should not be consumed,” advises the Ministry of Agriculture.
For this food, prevention only concerns infants. Young parents are usually advised not to give honey to their child before the age of one. A form of botulism, called infantile, is mainly seen in infants under six months of age. In this case, it is the ingestion of the spores of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum which poses a problem because they then germinate in the toddler’s intestine; the body of the latter having not yet developed the capacity to defend itself. These spores are found in honey as well as in dust, warns thePastor Institute.