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It’s time to preserve! What is the danger of botulinum toxin and how not to roll it up in jars?

Date: April 12, 2024 Time: 20:35:28

The causative agents of botulism live only in the absence of oxygen, that is, in hermetically sealed canned foods, pickles and homemade smoked products.

Photo: Shutterstock

In fact, we are talking about mushrooms, fish, cucumbers or, for example, root vegetables. But it is not about fresh products, but about preserves.

“At the end of July, 5 confirmed cases of botulism were registered in Spain and 4 more under suspicion,” says Alexey Vodovozov, a toxicologist and member of the Club of Scientific Journalists, on his TG channel. – The potato omelette was to blame (we suspect it was an omelette – ed. note). A suspicious product was detected in Spain, in Madrid and Valencia, and it turned out that similar products were being sold in Andorra, France and Portugal. Only one thing pleases: modern toxicology allows us to keep mortality at around 7.5%.

The WHO gives the following statistics: the disease can be fatal in 5-10% of cases.

According to Rospotrebnadzor, in Russia in 2020, 112 people suffered from botulism, of which 7 cases (6.25%) were fatal. In 2021, 148 people were affected, of which 22 were fatal (14.9%).


Imagine: something ate and died? Where does botulism come from? The culprit of all is the gram-positive bacillus Clostridium botulinum, which releases dangerous botulinum toxins. By itself, a bacterium that lives in soil (even at the bottom of a reservoir) is quite harmless. But its derivatives can kill. Moreover, they excel exclusively in finished products, mostly canned and tightly rolled – botulinum toxins multiply in an airless environment.

But the insulting thing is that botulinum toxins do not manifest externally: botulinum toxins have no taste, color or smell. But they quickly begin to affect the nervous system. According to the WHO, symptoms usually appear between 12 and 36 hours (minimum 4 hours and maximum 8 days).

Therefore, it is important to monitor symptoms after canned foods, especially those that have been in contact with the ground, yes, potatoes, carrots, radishes, and other root vegetables. Don’t forget the mushrooms!

Pay attention to neurological symptoms, recommends Aleksey Vodovozov:

* double vision, sometimes sudden squint,

* Difficulty to swallow

*Increased muscle weakness

* shortness of breath, shortness of breath (respiratory muscles suffer),

* bilateral amymia (“mask face”).

The World Health Organization cites the following symptoms:

* intense fatigue, weakness and dizziness,

* then comes blurred vision, dry mouth and difficulty swallowing and speaking,

* in rare cases, there may be vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and bloating.

As the disease progresses, weakness in the neck and arms may develop, after which the respiratory muscles and muscles of the lower body are affected. The temperature does not rise and there is no loss of consciousness.

If the correct diagnosis is not quickly made and treatment is not started (introduction of antitoxin in the early stages and intensive mechanical ventilation of the lungs), death is very likely.


Once again, we clarify: the causative agents of botulism live only in the absence of oxygen, that is, in hermetically sealed canned food, pickles and homemade smoked products.

That is why Rospotrebnadzor warns:

1. Home canned products in tightly sealed cans found on the hands or in the markets are dangerous.

You will not be given guarantees of compliance with hygiene and temperature standards during storage.

2. In addition to home-smoked products: large hams, fish.

Especially dangerous are silver carp and other fish that live in the lower layers of the water. From the intestines of the fish, if they are processed incorrectly, the spores easily penetrate into the thickness of the muscles.

3. When cooking at home, do not seal canned mushrooms.

If you like to preserve yourself, wash and clean everything thoroughly! Not only mushrooms are dangerous, but also canned meat, fish, carrots, beets, purslane and dill. These products are difficult to remove small dirt particles. This means that spores of the agents that cause botulism can remain on them. Therefore, the lids must not be airtight. Yes, these canned foods will last less, but they will be safe.

4. Food with signs of deterioration and rottenness cannot be preserved.

5. Do not violate the cooking technology: reduce the amount of salt, vinegar, reduce the time of heat treatment. And it’s important to store canned food only in the basement or refrigerator.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – do not eat canned food from swollen cans! Yes, there may not be a botulinum toxin, but there is something no less dangerous.

“If you feel unwell after eating homemade canned or smoked products, see a doctor immediately and be sure to tell them about canned foods, fish or smoked products that could make you feel sick. Do not discard leftover food; they should be sent for laboratory research, ”recommend experts from Rospotrebnadzor.


The word “botulism” comes from the Latin botulus – “sausage”. In the 19th century, the German scientist Justinus Kerner realized that the toxin from a spoiled sausage can kill and, in doing so, acts on the nerves in the same way that rust eats away at metal. The scientist even wanted to treat neurological disorders with him, but the idea did not come to fruition (only at the beginning of the 21st century).

In the mid-20th century, botulinum toxin was considered an ideal bioweapon: after all, a single gram of a substance in crystalline form can poison a million people. Later, the toxin was purified and today it is used to treat many diseases, including neurological ones.

Well of course they are used in beauty injections.


And at the beginning of the year a dangerous trend was revealed among those who lose weight in the West: they began to inject botulinum toxin into the stomach so that the walls relax, digestion slows down, and food comes out more slowly. Thus, the feeling of satiety appears faster and lasts longer.

Those who recommend this procedure promise that you can lose about 5% of your body weight. Only now they forget to clarify that safety is a big issue: only in February-March, 67 cases of botulism associated with the new method were registered. Most of them are located in Türkiye and Germany.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) strongly advises against including this procedure in medical tourism programs and avoiding centers where it is offered for one kilometer.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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