July 31, 2007

Thank goodness there ain't no potted meat on that list.

Via the mighty muscular Megabeth, this list from the Alabama Department of Public Health (.pdf) of all sorts of canned meat'n'beans-type foods associated with or affected by the recent Castleberry's botulism recall.

I haven't been following this, because I never really thought it was anything more than Castleberry products, but I neglected to remind myself of the advice I keep giving my kids. They always want the stuff advertised on teevee, and I keep trying to tell them that in most cases the store brand is the exact same stuff by the exact same companies, so there's no use paying extra for it. Now I realize some store brand stuff isn't quite the same quality, so, you know, "YMMV" and all, but for the most part, it's cheaper to just have one production line making all the same stuff, rather than a separate one for the cheapo junk.

ANYWAY--back to the point--I thought it was just Castleberry, but the list from the ADPH has a list of brands, including Bryan, Southern Home (Food World/Bruno's store brand), and Thrifty Maid (Winn-Dixie's store brand). We shop at the latter two stores, and to my utter horror, I know for a fact that we have several cans of the Bryan Chili with Beans in the pantry (probably had a coupon for it, since it's several pennies more expensive than the store brands).

I sure hope it's not be affected by the recall--I'll be sure and check it when I get home.

Oh, and by the way--botulism is not a nice, fun disease that you can use to get off from work for a long weekend. (Dangitall). From the CDC:

How can botulism be treated?

The respiratory failure and paralysis that occur with severe botulism may require a patient to be on a breathing machine (ventilator) for weeks, plus intensive medical and nursing care. After several weeks, the paralysis slowly improves. If diagnosed early, foodborne and wound botulism can be treated with an antitoxin which blocks the action of toxin circulating in the blood. This can prevent patients from worsening, but recovery still takes many weeks. Physicians may try to remove contaminated food still in the gut by inducing vomiting or by using enemas. Wounds should be treated, usually surgically, to remove the source of the toxin-producing bacteria. Good supportive care in a hospital is the mainstay of therapy for all forms of botulism. Currently, antitoxin is not routinely given for treatment of infant botulism.

Are there complications from botulism?

Botulism can result in death due to respiratory failure. However, in the past 50 years the proportion of patients with botulism who die has fallen from about 50% to 8%. A patient with severe botulism may require a breathing machine as well as intensive medical and nursing care for several months. Patients who survive an episode of botulism poisoning may have fatigue and shortness of breath for years and long-term therapy may be needed to aid recovery.

Frankly, I'm not completely comforted that the death rate has fallen from 50% to 8%.

At least I can still enjoy my nice can of potted meat and crackers for lunch.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at July 31, 2007 09:05 AM

Today's money saving tip: inject Castleberry chili around your eyes and forehead to save the high cost of botox injections!

Posted by: skillzy at July 31, 2007 09:35 AM

Dang--why can't I think of genius stuff like that!?

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at July 31, 2007 10:09 AM