I posted on a general overview on botulism a few months ago:
Foodborne botulism (as distinct from wound botulism and infant botulism) is a severe type of food poisoning caused by the ingestion of foods containing the potent neurotoxin formed during growth of the organism. The toxin is heat labile and can be destroyed if heated at 80°C for 10 minutes or longer. The incidence of the disease is low, but the disease is of considerable concern because of its high mortality rate if not treated immediately and properly. Most of the 10 to 30 outbreaks that are reported annually in the United States are associated with inadequately processed, home-canned foods, but occasionally commercially produced foods have been involved in outbreaks. Sausages, meat products, canned vegetables and seafood products have been the most frequent vehicles for human botulism.
Public health officials in Indiana, Texas, and at CDC are investigating an outbreak of botulism associated with commercially-canned hot dog chili sauce. Foodborne botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by consuming foods that contain botulinum toxin, a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
Due to possible contamination with botulinum toxin, CDC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are advising persons not to eat certain products manufactured by Castleberry’s Food Company. These include certain “Castleberry’s” brands as well as products distributed under other brand names.
Other foods that should be discarded are cans of recalled products with missing or unreadable “best by” dates, foods that may have been prepared with a recalled product, and canned chili sauce, chili, corned beef hash, or barbecue pork of an unknown brand.
As of July 20, 2007, four cases of botulism have been reported to CDC from Indiana (2 cases) and Texas (2 cases). Onset dates range from June 29 to July 9, 2007. All four persons were reported to have consumed Castleberry’s brand Hot Dog Chili Sauce Original. Botulinum toxin was identified in leftover chili sauce from an unlabeled sealable bag collected from a patient’s refrigerator.
CDC OutbreakNet (the network of epidemiologists and other public health officials, facilitated by CDC, who investigate outbreaks of foodborne, waterborne, and other enteric illnesses nationwide) staff shared this information with colleagues at the FDA. After being informed about the outbreak by the FDA, the company that manufactures the Castleberry’s brand Hot Dog Chili Sauce and other products issued a voluntary recall on July 18, 2007.
Persons with signs or symptoms of botulism who have eaten Castleberry’s brand Hot Dog Chili Sauce or any of the other recalled products are advised to immediately contact their health care provider. These include new onset of double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, or muscle weakness. If untreated, the illness may progress from head to toe, with paralysis of the face, arms, breathing muscles, trunk, and legs. Symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as early as 6 hours or as late as 10 days.