Canadians paralysed after drinking carrot juice

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Carrot juice which was withdrawn from the market late last month is thought to be responsible for the illness of two Canadians who are paralyzed and are severely ill in hospital.

According to public health officials the Toronto residents drank carrot juice that has since tested positive for a botulism toxin.

The juice is said to be the same carrot juice which was recalled late in September and was one of the three brands recalled.

The juice, produced by Bolthouse Farms in Bakersfield, California was taken off North American store shelves after four cases of botulism in the United States were linked to toxic carrot juice.

One woman from Florida remains in hospital and has been unresponsive, since mid-September while three people in Georgia who suffered respiratory failure after drinking the carrot juice have been on ventilators for a month.

Botulism, though rare is a potentially fatal form of food poisoning and can cause general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing.

Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms and people experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

In severe cases, the paralysis can restrict breathing, forcing patients on to ventilators.

The Canadian public has been warned to avoid drinking three brands of carrot juice, Bolthouse Farms 100% Carrot Juice, Earthbound Farm Organic Carrot Juice and President's Choice Organics 100% Pure Carrot Juice.

Bolthouse Farms bottles the three brands and all are sold in one-litre and 450-millilitre containers.

Products with a "best by" date up to Nov. 11 have been recalled.

Consumers are advised to discard the products and the suggestion is that improper refrigeration has caused the problem and as carrot juice is low in acids, and bacteria will grow unless it's kept below 7 C.

This latest food scare comes after California-grown spinach tainted with a potentially deadly strain of E. coli is suspected to have caused three deaths in the U.S.and sickened people across the nation.

Only last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it was safe to eat U.S.-packaged spinach again, but Canadian health officials have not yet followed suit and now green leaf lettuce produced by the Nunes Company, also in California's Salinas Valley, has been voluntarily recalled because of concerns about E. coli contamination.

The Bolthouse Farms recall is also voluntary and the farms processing facilities were examined closely by internal auditors and the FDA, and have been given the all clear.

Their carrot Juice is distributed to 50 states in the U.S. along with Mexico and Canada.

The FDA says carrot juice, like other low acid products, must be kept refrigerated to ensure product safety and properly refrigerated carrot juice poses no risk to consumer health.

However, says the FDA, all fresh carrot juice, has the potential to harbor Botulism if improperly refrigerated or exposed to elevated temperatures for extended periods of time.

Consumers who are concerned can call the FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD (723 3366), or Wm. Bolthouse Farms at (661) 366-7205, for more information.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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