Botulism: Bad to the Bone
FHC FMC Food Safety
Mike Parker

Botulism, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin produced by certain strains of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botulism causes muscle paralysis, and commonly produces symptoms such as double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth and muscle weakness. Symptoms typically show up within 18 to 36 hours after consuming contaminated food, but could present as early as 8 hours or as much as 10 days later. If left untreated, botulism toxins can cause paralysis of the respiratory muscles, arms, legs and trunk, and even result in death.

Botulinum toxin, the neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, might be the deadliest substances on earth. Just how bad is botulism? According to a report from the BBC, a dose of 0.00007mg is sufficient to kill an average-sized man. If you do the math, that means a single gram of Botulinum toxin could kill up to 1 million people and a couple of kilos could wipe out the human race.

Of course, the devil is always in the details. The truth is, Clostridium botulinum, the organism which produces Botulinum toxin, is an ordinary and relatively benign part of the natural environment. It can be found in forests and cultivated fields, on the bottom of lakes and streams, and in untreated bodies of water. It’s commonly found in the intestinal tracts of mammals and fish and in the gills and viscera of shellfish and crabs. Fortunately, in its natural environment Clostridium botulinum bacteria is relatively harmless. Problems arise when that environment changes, such as during an improper home-canning event or when certain prepared foods are kept at warm temperatures for too long. The spores can then transform into vegetative cells and start producing the deadly neurotoxin.

Botulism is bad to the bone. The CDC considers it a medical emergency which could be fatal if left untreated. If you or anyone you know exhibits symptoms of botulism, seek medical treatment immediately.
 

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FMC - Food Manager Classes is part of the family of online courseware provided by Educlasses.org. Our cost effective online educational and certification service offers courseware to meet your business training needs.

If you are looking for an online food manager course, then you have found it. FoodManagerClasses.com offers online food manager training with exam to certify food managers in the food service industry.

 

Educlasses.org online training service offers a family of online courseware to meet your certification & training needs.

If you are looking for an online food handler course, then you have found it. FoodHandlerClasses.com is an ANSI accredited course and offers food handler training with exam to certify food workers in the service industry.

 

If you are looking for an online food manager course, then you have found it. FoodManagerClasses.com offers online food manager training with exam to certify food managers in the food service industry.