(a.k.a C. botulinum)
Slogan: “If your canned beans aren’t sterilized, I can make you paralyzed. So if the can is bulging, don’t be indulging.”
Habitat: Lives primarily in soil and is also found on plants and the outside covering of fish and animals.
Common food sources: Improperly canned foods, especially home-canned vegetables, fermented fish, baked potatoes in aluminum foil; foods with low acid.
Illness: It causes foodborne botulism when the toxins produced by this bacterium are eaten with food. Toxins are extremely potent and a very small amount can cause paralysis or death. Symptoms include weakness, paralysis, double vision, impaired speech and difficulty swallowing.
Infant botulism can occur from eating honey which is contaminated with the spores.
How to avoid: Use caution when eating home-canned vegetables, home-cured meats, fermented fish and other preserved foods. Do not feed honey to infants under the age of 1.