France records 12 cases of botulism this week. They are all linked to a dinner in a Bordeaux restaurantTHE Tchin Tchin Bar. The intoxicated customers had ordered sardines homemade, canned, between Monday September 4 and Sunday September 10, 2023. One of the victims, a 32-year-old young woman died. She had mild symptoms that did not trigger a diagnosis until her condition suddenly worsened.
“ The discussions we had with the professional [du Tchin Tchin Wine Bar] and the inspection we carried out confirmed a problem: a manufacturing defect in canned sardines », Specified Thierry Touzet, deputy director of the departmental directorate for population protection, with France Bleu.
Botulism is responsible for 20 to 40 cases in France. The disease often results from food poisoning caused by artisanal preserves. But it can also be caused by cured meats or vacuum-packed and refrigerated products from supermarkets.
Botulism: what foods are at risk?
Botulism is a neurological condition serious caused by a very powerful toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinumwhich is developing in particular in poorly stored foods. Although botulism is rare, its mortality remains high when treatment is not immediate.
THE symptoms begin with eye damage (failure to accommodate, blurred vision), dryness of the mouth accompanied by difficulty swallowing or even speech, then paresis to paralysis of the muscles. “ In advanced forms, they progress towards descending paralysis of the limbs and respiratory muscles. », indicates thePastor Institute.
In addition to canned sardinescanned vegetables (green beans, spinach, beets, etc.), hams, cold meats, mushrooms, tuna canned, smoked fishsome cheeses…but also the industrial preserves (pâté, preparation based on olives and dried tomatoes, etc.) are foods where the bacteria is likely to develop.
The bacteria only grows in the absence of oxygen. It multiplies in low-acid foods (pH > 4.6) not subject to an extensive preservation process.
Acidic preserves, fruit with alcohol and jams containing at least 50% sugar do not present a risk. However, be careful not to give Honey to children before 1 year of age, because it contains spores that can release the toxin.
Concretely, caution is required with artisanal, so-called “local” products and family preserveswhose consumption is increasing for ecological reasons…
What are the storage rules to follow?
1- To begin, be sure to keep canned products in the cellar or in a cool place for a maximum of one year. And at the slightest anomaly, there is no question of eating them: curved lid, too easy opening, mold, suspicious smell… we abstain!
2- Wash the plants to remove all traces of soil and carefully clean the meat.
3- Be sure to cook meat dishes (pâtés, etc.) thoroughly before putting them in jars and sterilizing them.
4- Prepare the containers. Wash the jars carefully and rinse them with hot water. Check that gaskets and covers are in good condition.
5- Immerse the preserves in a boiling water bath (approximately 95°C) for at least 20 to 30 minutes, after having closed them airtight. Remove the jars from the hot water immediately afterwards and run them under a stream of cold water. Test the resistance of the lid when opened.