Foodborne botulism is a food poisoning caused by a
toxin produced by the bacterium, Clostridium
botulinum. The bacteria grow best in food at room
Who gets foodborne botulism?
Foodborne botulism occurs after eating food that
contains the bacterium toxin, produced by C.
Botulinum. This toxin does not give a bad odor or
taste to food. The disease most often develops after
consuming improperly processed home-canned
foods or home-preserved meats.
How is foodborne botulism spread?
Person-to-person spread does not occur. A person
may acquire foodborne botulism after eating
contaminated food that has not been properly
cooked or reheated.
What are the symptoms of foodborne
Foodborne botulism produces symptoms that affect
the nervous system.
blurred or double vision
drooping of the upper eyelids
How soon do symptoms appear?
Symptoms of foodborne botulism usually appear 12 -
36 hours after eating contaminated food. In rare
cases, symptoms may not develop for several days.
What is the treatment for foodborne botulism?
Hospital care is necessary. Antitoxin is given in
certain cases of foodborne botulism.
What happens if foodborne botulism is not treated?
Untreated botulism may result in death.
How can foodborne botulism be prevented?
All canned and preserved foods must be properly
processed and prepared.
should be heated to 241º F using a pressure cooker to
kill spores of Clostridium botulinum. Specific
guidelines for home canning are available from the
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Home-canned foods should be boiled for 10 minutes
before eating; this will destroy the botulism toxin.
Reheated foods should be heated to 165° F.
foods should be thawed in the refrigerator, rather
than at room temperature.
Bulging containers should not be opened and foods
with off-odors should not be eaten or even tasted.
Commercial cans with bulging lids should be
returned unopened to the vendor.
garlic/oil preparations at room temperatures.
Where can I get more information?
Contact your doctor or the Southern Nevada Health
District, Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300.