San Francisco Product Liability Attorney Comments on Harmful Canned Foods

Here’s a headline that caught our attention: “Botulism Risk May Hide in Homemade Holiday Gift Baskets.” Botulism and Holiday gift baskets? Hmm… we could not immediately see the connection between the two. The article explained that with the economic downturn, people are finding creative ways to save money on gifts, and one way people are saving money is by purchasing cans and jars and making canned food items to give as gifts. The problem with this gift idea is that some people don’t know what they are doing and end up giving canned goods that actually end up harming the people who eat the contents. According to the article, three people required hospitalization after eating green beans that were inappropriately canned at home in 2009. A common source of food-borne botulism is in home canned foods that are low in acid, such as green beans, corn and beets.
The May Clinic states that botulism is a rare but serious condition caused by toxins from bacteria called Clostridium botulism and that food-borne botulism is harmful bacteria that thrive and produce the toxin. Also according to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of food-borne botulism typically begin between 12 and 36 hours after the toxin gets into your body and include difficulty swallowing or speaking; facial weakness on both sides of the face; blurred vision; drooping eyelids; trouble breathing; nausea; vomiting and abdominal cramps; paralysis. Anyone experiencing the above symptoms should seek medical care. Early treatment increases chances of survival and will help to alert public health authorities, who can help prevent people from eating contaminated food.
So be careful this holiday season and be cautious if you receive a gift basket with home canned foods. The holidays should be a time of joy, a time to celebrate good health, friendship and family. If you or a loved one fell ill due to improper food handling or packaging, either homemade or commercial, contact our firm. We have over 10 years experience fighting and winning product liability lawsuits. Please call our office if you have any questions regarding product liability law or if need help determining if you have a claim.