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Food bank warns donated chili may be contaminated with botulism

COLUMBUS (AP): About 296,000 cans of chili that may be contaminated has been distributed to low-income families across the state, the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks announced July 25, 2007.

The product, produced by Castleberry and labeled as Morton House Chili with Beans, was distributed by 12 food banks, food pantries and some county departments of Job and Family Services in grocery boxes of non-perishable items provided through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program.

The association said it has ceased distribution of the chili, but warned those with cans already in hand that it is subject to a national recall and may be contaminated with bacteria that can cause botulism.

Second Harvest had been unaware of the recall until the manufacturer informed the association Wednesday.

Two cans each of the chili was contained in up to 5,800 boxes distributed between March 15 and July 20. In addition to the TANF grocery boxes, 284,480 cans were distributed between July 18 and 20 through the Ohio Food Program, which supplies local food pantries and soup kitchens.

Workers at food banks and other providers are opening TANF boxes and throwing the product out, and Second Harvest clients who have received the product through the Ohio Food Program have been asked to do the same.

Botulism poisoning can begin from six hours to two weeks after eating food that contains the toxin. Symptoms include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth and muscle weakness that moves progressively down the body, affecting the shoulders first then descending, the food bank said, quoting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Botulism poisoning also can cause paralysis of the breathing muscles when left untreated. Individuals who show these symptoms or may have recently eaten Castleberrys Hot Dog Chili Sauce, Austex Hot Dog Chili Sauce or Kroger Hot Dog Chili Sauce are advised to seek immediate medical attention.

On the Net: Food and Drug Administration: http://www.fda.gov; Castleberry’s Food Co.: http://www.castleberrys.com/







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