Botulism in chili sauce latest food scare in U.S.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. has warned the public about canned products which may be contaminated with the bacteria that causes botulism.

The ten products made by the Castleberry's Food Company in Augusta, include three hot dog chili sauces, along with beans, corned beef hash and barbeque pork.

The cans of hot dog chili sauce are sold under various brand names and they are suspected to be contaminated with the botulism bacteria and should not be eaten, says the FDA.

As a result of eating the suspect hot dog chili products four people, two children in Texas and a couple from Indiana have been hospitalized and are seriously ill.

The FDA says 10-oz cans of Castleberry's Hot Dog Chili Sauce, Austex Hot Dog Chili Sauce and Kroger Hot Dog Chili Sauce should not be eaten because of the risk of botulism.

Botulism can be fatal as it causes a muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a toxin made by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum.

Symptoms include dizziness, double vision, difficulty in breathing and abdominal distention and can begin from six hours to two weeks after eating food that contains the botulism toxin.

All the products affected by the recall bear the barcodes U-P-C, followed by 10 digits and are stamped with "best by" dates from April 30, 2009 through May 22, 2009.

The FDA say the products or any foods made with them should be discarded immediately even if the product doesn't look or smell spoiled.

According to the FDA these are the first U.S. botulism cases in commercially canned goods in several decades.

Those who exhibit any botulism poisoning symptoms and who may have recently eaten the recalled products are advised to seek medical attention immediately.

Castleberry's is cooperating with investigators from the FDA, CDC, and other government officials and consumers can call the FDA at (888) SAFEFOOD.

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