Castleberry Botulism Cases Rise as Recall News Slowly SpreadsAug 1, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP
Although hot dog chili sauces, stews, dog foods and other products manufactured by Castleberry’s Food Company were recalled for possible botulism contamination nearly two weeks ago, word of the Castleberry recall has been slow to reach many consumers. A third person in Indiana may be suffering from botulism poisoning as a result of eating a recalled Castleberry’s Food product just this past Sunday. Though the Indiana Department of Health is awaiting test results to confirm if the illness is botulism, officials there are disturbed that the patient ate a recalled product so recently.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has conceded that awareness of the Castleberry’s recall has been problematic. Late last week, the FDA reported that tainted products have shown up in stores in several states, including North Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Montana, New York and Indiana. The FDA said that it is making efforts to more effectively disseminate news of the recall, and Castleberry’s has hired a company to assist with the removal of cans from stores.
The recall was initiated on July 18 after four cases of botulism poisoning were tied to Castleberry’s hot dog chili sauces. Test confirmed that two Texas children and an Indiana couple were suffering from botulism, and all of those victims had eaten one of Castleberry’s hot dog sauces. At that time, 10 varieties of the hot dog chili sauce were recalled. The recall was later expanded to include 80 types of sauces, beans, stew, chili, hash and pet foods produced at the company’s plant. Castleberry’s said that all of the items came from one malfunctioning processing line at its plant in Augusta, Georgia
In recent days, several states have reported cases of possible botulism to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In San Diego, a woman was hospitalized with botulism symptoms for 10 days after eating Castleberry’s chili. Though tests confirmed that the woman had botulism, the CDC could not say for sure if she contracted the illness from the chili because it had been thrown away before her symptoms appeared. A hospital in Hawaii is also waiting for test results on two men who presented with botulism symptoms after eating recalled chili this past weekend.
The Castleberry’s botulism outbreak is the first to be linked to commercial canning in nearly 40 years. Botulism is a potentially deadly toxin that can lead to paralysis and even death. Symptoms include blurred vision, drooping eyelids, muscle weakness, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing. Botulism can paralyze breathing muscles, and many patients spend months in the hospital while the toxin wears off.