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Botulism Risk in Some Canned Green Beans

Processing Error Spurs Company to Issue Product Recall; No Illnesses Linked to Recall
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Aug. 3, 2007 -- The FDA today warned people not to eat certain brands of French cut green beans in 14.5-ounce cans made by Lakeside Foods because the product may not have been processed adequately to eliminate the potential for botulism toxin.

In a news release, the FDA states that the canned green beans may cause botulism if consumed. However, as of Aug. 1, 2007, the FDA hadn't received reports of illnesses related to the product and Lakeside Foods reports no signs of botulism in any of the cans it had tested.

The botulism toxin is very potent, and botulism is a life-threatening illness. Symptoms of botulism can begin from six hours to two weeks after eating food that contains the toxin.

Botulism symptoms may 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 to the upper arms, lower arms, thighs, and calves. Botulism also may paralyze the breathing muscles, which can result in death unless assistance with breathing (mechanical ventilation) is provided.

The FDA advises people who show these symptoms and who may have recently eaten the product to seek immediate medical attention.

Lakeside Foods is based in Manitowoc, Wis. The affected Lakeside French cut green beans are sold nationwide and in Canada under the following labels: Albertson’s, Happy Harvest, Best Choice, Food Club, Bogopa, Valu Time, Hill Country Fare, HEB, Laura Lynn, Kroger, No Name, North Pride, Shop N Save, Shoppers Valu, Schnucks, Cub Foods, Dierbergs, Flavorite, IGA, Best Choice, and Thrifty Maid.

The specific codes (top line of can code) involved are: EAA5247, EAA5257, EAA5267, EAA5277, EAB5247, EAB5257, ECA5207, ECA5217, ECA5227, ECA5297, ECB5207, ECB5217, ECB5227, and ECB5307.

The FDA advises people who have any of these products -- or any foods made with these products -- to dispose of them immediately. If the code on an affected can is missing or unreadable, consumers should throw the product out, says the FDA.

Lakeside Foods is voluntarily recalling all of the potentially contaminated products. In a news release, the company states that it found the processing error during routine monitoring and has corrected the problem. Lakeside Foods, though it hasn't found botulism toxin in any of the cans that it has tested, is continuing testing "out of an abundance of caution."

The recall doesn't apply to any other Lakeside Food products or to any other brands of canned green beans.

Lakeside Foods recommends that consumers with any questions or concerns about the recall should call the company at (800) 466-3834 ext. 4090.

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