Consumers Warned Of Home-Canned Soup

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Home-Canned Soup Warning

Consumers who purchased or were given "home-canned" soup or other canned products from the Schumacher's Inn in Austin, Potter County, should not open the jars due to the risk of Botulism contamination, Health Secretary Dr. Calvin B. Johnson said today.

The state became involved after a 43-year-old Potter County woman, and some of the chicken soup she said she purchased from the restaurant, tested positive for botulism.

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The Department of Agriculture, which oversees food safety, has quarantined the product and ordered the restaurant not to sell or give away any canned product. Any soup or other products canned by this restaurant should be submitted to the state for testing.

Foodborne botulism is a rare but very serious paralytic illness caused by consuming foods that contain botulinum toxin, a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It usually occurs after consuming items that were improperly canned, allowing the formation of botulinum toxin in the product. The toxin sometimes causes the lid of the can or jar to swell, but this is not always the case.

Botulism, which thrives in oxygen-free environments, like those produced in canning, may have been introduced through improper canning techniques. Chicken soup is considered a potentially hazardous food when canned and should only be produced by commercially-licensed kitchens.

In individuals, symptoms of botulism can include nausea, vomiting, and intestinal problems; followed by fatigue, blurred vision, difficulty swallowing and dry mouth. If untreated, the illness may progress from head to toe, with paralysis of the face, arms, breathing muscles, trunk and legs. Symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as early as 6 hours or as late as 10 days.

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