Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Botulism-tainted juice paralyzes two in Canada

Two people are paralyzed after drinking botulism-contaminated carrot juice, some of which was still found on store shelves 10 days after a Canada-wide recall, a Toronto health spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on September 30 warned consumers not to drink Bolthouse Farms 100 percent Carrot Juice, Earthbound Farm Organic Carrot Juice and President's Choice Organics 100 percent Pure Carrot Juice, all of U.S. origin, "due to botulism concerns."

Canadian distributors had immediately recalled the contaminated products. But as of Monday night, Toronto officials had found the juice in 11 of 788 stores checked during a four-day blitz, said Rishma Govani, spokeswoman for Toronto Public Health.

The two victims remain in hospital in serious condition, Govani said.

Juice remaining in their carrot juice bottles was found to contain the botulism toxin.

Although contaminated products were distributed across the country, cases of the toxin have only been confirmed in Toronto.

"Botulism is a rare food poisoning but with very serious consequences... I don't recall any such poisoning actually happening (in Canada) from a commercially-prepared food," said Davendra Sharma, officer of food safety and recall at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Ottawa.

Botulism can cause nausea, fatigue, double vision, paralysis and respiratory failure. In severe cases, the toxin can be fatal.

Botulism can be treated with an antitoxin to prevent further paralysis, but any paralysis that has already occurred cannot be medically reversed.

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning linking four cases of botulism to carrot juice.

The U.S. cases first appeared in September, with one woman in Florida suffering paralysis after drinking the juice.

Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited.

AdSense Niches

Ultimate Juicing: Delicious Recipes for Over 125 of the Best Fruit & Vegetable Juice Combinations