July 17, 2024

Botulism Outbreak at Valley Oak Food and Fuel in Walnut Grove, CA

A botulism outbreak has sickened five people who ate food from the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove, California, according to the Sacramento Bee. Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye told the paper that five cases are under investigation.

All of the patients are hospitalized in serious condition. Four of those sickened said they ate prepared food purchased from the gas station.

Woman Stomach Ache

The bacteria, Clostridium botulinum, that sickened those people produces a nerve toxin when it grows under anaerobic conditions (without oxygen). Improperly processed canned foods are the most common source of this type of food poisoning. When the bacteria grows, it releases a toxin called botulism. The toxin acts on a person’s nervous system.

Lawyer Fred Pritzker

Attorney Fred Pritzker said, “Botulism toxin cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted.” Contact him at 1-888-377-8900.

Attorney Fred Pritzker, who represents people sickened with food poisoning, said, “While botulism poisoning is rare, the effects can be devastating and even deadly. Medical care for this illness can become very expensive very quickly.”

Botulism sickens fewer than 200 people in the United States every year, especially since fewer people can foods at home and good instructions for safe canning are available for those who do can and preserve food. Foods that are most problematic for botulism include low-acid foods such as canned meats and fish and canned vegetables.

In 2015, a large botulism outbreak that sickened 29 and killed two people occurred at a church potluck in Fairfield, Ohio. The culprit was a potato salad made with home-canned potatoes. The potatoes were processed using a boiling water canner, which does not eliminate botulism spores.

Early symptoms of botulism include stomach cramps and vomiting. As symptoms progress, patients usually experience blurred and double vision, slurred speech, drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. Finally, difficulty breathing can occur. These symptoms usually begin 18 to 36 hours after exposure to the toxin, but some people can get sick 10 days later.

Foods that have been linked to botulism outbreaks in the past include tainted moonshine, home-canned bamboo shoots, jarred pesto, fermented fish heads, jarred chili sauce. Between 1996 and 2008 there were 116 foodborne botulism outbreaks reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Eighteen of those outbreaks were linked to improperly home-canned vegetables.

If you ate any food from Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove, California and have experienced the symptoms of botulism, see a doctor immediately. Most patients need to be hospitalized. The illness is treated with an anti-toxin, which is available to hospitals from the CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile.

Pritzker Hageman, America’s food safety law firm, helps people who have been harmed by contaminated food products in outbreaks throughout the United States. Its lawyers have won hundreds of millions of dollars for food poisoning patients, including the largest lawsuit verdict in American history for a person harmed by E. coli bacteria who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. The firm also publishes the Google News site, Food Poisoning Bulletin, a respected source for food safety information. Pritzker Hageman lawyers are regularly interviewed by major news outlets including the New York Times, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal. In addition, the firm represents people harmed by pathogenic microorganisms in Legionnaires‘ disease, product liability, and surgical site infections.

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