Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Clostridium botulinum is the name of a group of bacteria commonly found in soil. It is an anaerobic, gram-positive, spore-forming rod that produces a potent neurotoxin. These rod-shaped organisms grow best in low oxygen conditions. The bacteria form spores, which allow them to survive in a dormant state until exposed to conditions that can support their growth. The organism and its spores are widely distributed in nature. They occur in both cultivated and forest soils, bottom sediments of streams, lakes, and coastal waters, and in the intestinal tracts of fish and mammals, and in the gills and viscera of crabs and other shellfish.
Four types of botulism are recognized: foodborne, infant, wound, and a form of botulism whose classification is as yet undetermined. Foodborne botulism is the name of the disease (actually a foodborne intoxication) caused by the consumption of foods containing the neurotoxin produced by C. botulinum.
Most of the 10 to 30 botulism outbreaks that are reported annually in the United States are associated with inadequately processed, home-canned foods, but occasionally commercially produced foods have been involved in botulism outbreaks. Sausages, meat products, canned vegetables and seafood products have been the most frequent vehicles for human botulism.
The Marler Clark botulism lawyers have unparalleled experience representing victims of botulism outbreaks and other foodborne illness outbreaks traced to commercially produced food. Our botulism lawyers have represented victims of botulism outbreaks traced to canned chili and carrot juice, among other foods.