Foodborne botulism is a food poisoning caused by a toxin produced by the bacteria, Clostridium botulinum. It occurs naturally in soil. It is not spread person-to-person. A person must eat contaminated food that has not been properly cooked or reheated after the toxin has been produced by the bacteria. This toxin does not have a bad odor or taste to food. Botulism most often develops after consuming improperly processed home-canned foods or home-preserved meats.
Classic symptoms of botulism are brain-related in nature, including blurred or double vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, and muscle weakness. Infants with botulism appear tired, feed poorly, are constipated, and have a weak cry and poor muscle tone. If untreated, these symptoms may progress to cause paralysis and death.
Information for the General Public
Information for Public Health Departments