A French company, La Ruche, has recalled all Les Délices de Marie Claire preserves and has suspended operations after a production batch of its Tapenade verte aux amandes was linked to eight cases of botulism.

L’Institute Pasteur reported finding botulinum toxin type A in a sample of the implicated batch of olive-almond tapenade. 

Consumers in France

herring-botulism.jpgOn July 20, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that Euphoria Fancy Food Inc. of Brooklyn, New York is recalling Herring Special Salting due to a possible contamination with Clostridium botulinum spores. During a routine inspection and subsequent analysis of the product, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspectors confirmed

3000 cases of 105-ounce canned pickled sliced beets have been voluntarily recalled by Lakeside Foods, Inc. of Manitowoc, Wisconsin due to a potential contamination with certain harmful organisms including Clostridium botulinum. The recall, announced yesterday, was issued because some cans of the company’s product may not have been fully processed, creating a breeding

It may surprise some people to learn that the often-lethal toxins produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which cause botulism illnesses, are a chief ingredient in certain cosmetic/medical products.  In fact, the FDA recently updated its safety warnings about medical products that contain botulism toxins.  The FDA advisory concerns four drugs specifically: Botox, Botox Cosmetic, Myobloc, and Dysport.  The safety warning states, in part, as follows: 

The boxed warning cautions that the effects of the botulinum toxin may spread from the area of injection to other areas of the body, causing symptoms similar to those of botulism. Those symptoms include potentially life-threatening swallowing and breathing difficulties and even death.

These symptoms have mostly been reported in children with cerebral palsy being treated with botulinum toxin for muscle spasticity, a use of the drugs that has not been approved by FDA. Symptoms have also been reported in adults treated both for approved and unapproved uses.


No definitive serious adverse event reports of distant spread of toxin effect have been associated with dermatologic use of Botox/Botox Cosmetic at the recommended doses (for frown lines between the eyebrows or severe underarm sweating). As well, no definitive serious adverse event reports of distant spread of toxin effect have been associated with Botox when used at approved doses for eyelid twitches or for crossed eyes.

Continue Reading Botulism: Equal Parts Public Health Scourge and Cosmetic Miracle?