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Castleberry's Expands Botulism Recall as Atlanta Woman Hospitalized After Eating Tainted Chili Sauce

Jul 23, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP

An Atlanta woman may be the latest victim of a botulism outbreak linked to Castleberry’s Food products.   So far, four confirmed cases of the paralyzing disease have been linked to hot dog chili sauces manufactured by the Georgia company.   The company recalled chili sauces, along with ten other products last week.  This Saturday, Castleberry’s expanded the recall to include 80 more types of its canned meat products and dog foods.  

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to eat any of the recalled products.  The recall covers all “best by” dates and UPC codes of the following brands:  Austex, Best Yet, Big Y, Black Rock, Bloom, Bryan, Bunker Hill, Castleberry’s, Cattle Drive, Firefighters, Food Club, Food Lion, Gold Star, Great Value, Kroger, Lowes, Meijer, Morton House, Paramount, Piggly Wiggly, Prudence, Southern Home, Steak N. Shake, Thrifty Maid, Triple Bar and Value Time.  Castleberry’s is also recalling four varieties of Natural Balance Dog Foods.

Karmelia Ituen, a 20-year-old Atlanta woman who was hospitalized this weekend, had eaten Castleberry’s chili sauce prior to becoming ill.  Last week, tests confirmed that two Texas children and an Indiana couple were suffering from botulism.  All four of those victims had eaten one of Castleberry’s hot dog sauces.  This is the first botulism outbreak linked to a commercial product in several decades.  The disease is very rare, and the few cases that do occur each year are usually the result of home-canned foods.  A spokesman for Castleberry's said that all of the affected products were manufactured on one malfunctioning processing line.  Castleberry’s has since shut down that line.

Botulism is an extremely dangerous disease that can lead to paralysis and even death. The disease generally appears between 6 hours and 2 weeks after eating a contaminated food.  Symptoms of botulism include blurred vision, drooping eyelids, muscle weakness, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing.  Muscle weakness usually appears first in the shoulders, and travels progressively down the body.  If not treated properly, botulism can paralyze breathing muscles.  Victims can spend months on ventilators until the botulism toxin is out of their system.  Anyone who ate a recalled product who is now experiencing any of these symptoms needs to seek medical attention immediately.  

The FDA is telling consumers who have any of the recalled products in their homes to dispose of them by double bagging the items and placing them in a trash container for non-recyclable waste.  Anyone with questions about this recall can contact Castleberry’s consumer hotline at 1-800-203-4412 or go online to www.castleberrys.com.


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