What Should You Know About Clostridium Bacteria (Botulism) And Home Cooking

Clostridium perfringens

Clostridium perfringens are bacteria that produce toxins harmful to humans. It is a spore-forming gram-positive bacteria that can be found in the intestines of mammals and is found in raw meats. This bacterium is also found throughout the environment, and also in sewage.
 
Food poisoning from C.perfringens  is associated with undercooked meats. Often in large quantities of food prepared for a large group of people and left to sit out for long periods of time. Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as the food service bacteria
food service bacteria
Meat products such as stews, casseroles, and gravy are the most common sources of illness from C. perfringens. Most outbreaks come from food whose temperature is poorly managed.

This tells us that the need for a basic understanding of food safety is needed in most kitchens throughout the world. This bacteria would not be a concern if meats are cooked and reheated correctly. Food poisoning from Clostridium perfringens can happen very quickly ranging from 6 – 24 hours.

How to prevent food poisoning from Clostridium perfringens

  • Thoroughly cook foods, particularly meat, poultry, and gravies, to a safe internal temperature at 75˚C or above (167˚F)
  • Use a food thermometer to measure these temperatures
  • Keep food hot after cooking at 65˚C (140˚ F or above)
  • Microwave reheated food thoroughly.
  • Refrigerate perishable foods within two hours at 4˚C (40˚F)
  • Divide leftovers into shallow containers and refrigerate immediately. Do not let them cool on the counter, the longer your foods are exposed to the danger zone, the more likely bacteria will grow.

Clostridium Botulinum (Botulism)

Clostridium Botulinum are bacteria that grow in food and produce toxins that, when ingested, cause paralysis. These bacteria are anaerobic organisms. Meaning that it grows and survives in conditions without oxygen. This bacteria forms spores that allow it to survive in harsh conditions.
 
Botulism poisoning is rare, but so dangerous that each case is considered a public health risk. Most of the botulism cases reported each year come from foods that are not canned properly at home. But can happen commercially when cans are dented or damaged.
Always discard damaged tins, even minor punctures unseen by the naked eye. These can allow Clostridium to enter and contaminate the foods.

What is Botulism?

botulism
Image: medicalnewstoday.com
Botulism is a paralysing disease affecting the body’s nervous system. This is caused by the ingestion of one of the potent neurotoxins produced by C. botulinum bacteria. This neurotoxin is among the most toxic substances known even microscopic amounts can cause illness. (USDA)
Symptoms of botulism usually appear within 12 to 36 hours after eating food containing the neurotoxin. Although there have been documented cases that ranged from 4 hours to 8 days. The earlier the symptoms appear, the more serious the disease. Treatment requires quick medical attention and an antitoxin.(USDA) If untreated, paralysis will set in. Without treatment, the  breathing muscles will eventually become paralyzed, resulting in respiratory failure and death.

 

Preventing Botulism

Home cooking can be cost effective and a fun process. But food safety in the home is just as important as it is in the industry. Always take care during preparation, and follow the food safety pillars in order to ensure your meals are always safe.

[botulism can thrive in improperly canned food]
  • Always follow instructions carefully when canning food at home.
  • Do not taste canned food items to see if they are still good. Throw away any cans that are bulging, leaking, or appear damaged
  • Keep oils infused with garlic or herbs in a refrigerator
  • Boil home-processed foods for at least 10 minutes before eating, even if no signs of food spoilage are evident. This means 75˚C or above (167˚F).

 

Botulism & Botox

botulism botoxBotox is a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It’s the same toxin that causes a life-threatening type of food poisoning called botulism. Doctors use it in small doses to treat health problems, including

  • Temporary smoothing of facial wrinkles and improving your appearance
  • Severe underarm sweating
  • Cervical dystonia – a neurological disorder that causes severe neck and shoulder muscle contractions
  • Blepharospasm – uncontrollable blinking
  • Strabismus – misaligned eyes
  • Chronic migraine
  • Overactive bladder

Botox injections work by weakening or paralyzing certain muscles or by blocking certain nerves. The effects last about 3 to 12 months, depending on what you are treating. The most common side effects are pain, swelling, or bruising at the injection site. You could also have flu-like symptoms, headache, and upset stomach. Injections in the face may also cause temporary drooping eyelids.

Can you get Botulism from Botox?

An article published by CNN in 2004 suggested that 4 patients fell sick from Botox ,suggesting botulism was the cause. Doctors dealing with the case insisted that there had never been a single case relating Botox to Botulism. Scientific journals conducting research suggests that although Botox is poisonous , it is the dose that decides if there would be risk or not. There doesn’t seem to be enough evidence that there is a link between botulism and botox, because the disease if so rare. But there is definitely a risk, and botox should be taken with the knowledge of this.

 

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