Ohio Health Officials: Home-Canned Potatoes To Blame For Botulism Outbreak

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Canning your own food at home is a fantastic idea for anyone who wants vegetables on-hand all year-round. But health officials are warning people to make sure they stick to proper canning techniques, after a batch of home-canned potatoes used to make potato salad was linked to an outbreak of botulism in Ohio that’s killed one person.

There have been 21 confirmed cases of botulism and 10 more suspected cases after a potluck at an Ohio church, reports CNN, where all of the victims ate on April 19. A 54-year-old woman died after falling ill, while the others were treated at area hospitals with an antitoxin from the Strategic National Stockpile provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Mark Aebi, Health Commissioner and Medical Director at the Fairfield County Department of Health said in a statement: “This is a difficult time for our community, and our thoughts and prayers are with the affected individuals and their families.”

The blame is being laid on Clostridium botulinum bacteria, known as botulism, believed to have come from home-canned potatoes, prompting local health officials to remind people to use a pressure canner or cooker when canning foods at home, because that increasing pressure and ensuing higher heat is what kills the germ that causes botulism. Click here for more from the CDC on home canning.

Botulism can only affect those eating contaminated food and does not spread from person to person. It can cause paralysis, double vision, difficulty swallowing and respiratory failure.

Home-canned potatoes to blame for botulism outbreak [CNN]

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