Botulism in Nacho Cheese | Food Safety in Real Life

Botulism in Nacho Cheese | Food Safety in Real Life



in 2017 California hospitals admitted ten patients with botulism poisoning botulism is caused by the deadliest toxin known to humans the illness paralyzes its victims left untreated the paralysis can spread to a person's lungs and cause them to stop breathing the toxin that causes botulism comes from Clostridium botulinum bacteria which live in soil and thrive with little to no oxygen botulism is rare but it can spread through contaminated food so how did the patients become infected the State Health Department discovered that all ten patients ate nacho cheese from the same gas station the cheese came from a hot holding dispenser that customers used to make their own nachos when health inspectors visited the gas station they found that the cheese had passed its best by date no one at the gas station kept track of how long each bag of cheese stayed in the hot holding dispenser also employees used the wrong tool for opening the cheese when placing it in the dispenser these problems seemed so small but any one of them could have caused Clostridium botulinum to multiply in the cheese with disastrous consequences victims of this outbreak spent weeks in intensive care a 37 year old father of two lost his life how can you prevent an outbreak like this at your establishment always follow the manufacturer's instructions for equipment and products that you use look for these instructions on equipment and equipment manuals are on product packaging use the right tools for handling products and equipment throw away food that has not been eaten by its best by date and keep clear records of how long food has been in use also you must keep hot foods at or above 135 degrees Fahrenheit 57 degrees Celsius if food is hot held overnight keep the holding equipment on turning it off could cool the food enough to allow bacteria to multiply rapidly following these safety measures keeps your customers safe

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