All News / Outbreaks /

Washington State University Offers Helpful Advice To Home Canners

Rebekah Denn writes a blog called Devouring sEATtle as part of her duties as a food writer at the Seattle Post Intelligencer. She is out today with Free canning class – no botulism allowed.

In addition to telling her readers about the canning class offered by the Washington State University Extension Service, Denn gives readers some advice about canning and avoiding botulism at the same time. She credits WSU’s Jessica Dally for these words of wisdom:

1. Don’t assume a recipe or canning process is safe because it was handed down from your grandparents. "Your grandmother or grandfather or whoever was canning might have gotten away with a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to." (This makes me feel better about not having learned canning at my grandmother’s knee. At least I learned applesauce.)
2. Don’t use old recipe books or ancient canners; invest in newer ones. Canners have been redesigned, our understanding of food safety has improved; even the way we grow some produce has changed. Dally recommends
this book and this one.
3, If your pressure canner uses a dial gauge, it needs to be checked annually for accuracy. And there are very, very few places anymore that check gauges. Use a canner with a weighted gauge to make your life easier.
4. After your goods are canned, store them without the rings around the jar lids. If the seal should break, you want to know about it; you don’t want the ring holding the lid in place. Besides, that lets you re-use the rings instead of buying a new batch each time you can. For the same reasons, don’t stack your canned goods; store them in a single layer.
5. Do not alter recipes. Even a tweak like adding extra garlic can change the food’s acidity and the recommended processing time. "You are playing around with something you don’t want to play around with."
6. A
jar lifter can be your best friend in the canning kitchen.

Faulty home canning has long been a source of botulism. Commercial canning had a long track record of going botulism-free, but sadly as Castleberry’s and New Era has shown, that is no longer the case.

Get Help

Affected by an outbreak or recall?

The team at Marler Clark is here to answer all your questions. Find out if you’re eligible for a lawsuit, what questions to ask your doctor, and more.

Get a free consultation
Related Resources
What is Botulism?

Botulism is a life-threatening paralytic illness caused by neurotoxins produced by an anaerobic, gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium—Clostridium botulinum. Botulism is a rare disease and only affects a few hundred persons each...

Epidemiology and Microbiology of Botulism

C. botulinum bacteria and spores are widely distributed in nature because they are indigenous to soils and waters. They occur in both cultivated and forest soils, bottom sediment of streams...

Symptoms of Botulism

After their ingestion, botulinum neurotoxins are absorbed primarily in the duodenum and jejunum, pass into the bloodstream, and travel to synapses in the nervous system. There, the neurotoxins cause flaccid...

Detection and Treatment of Botulism

Although botulism can be diagnosed based on clinical symptoms, distinguishing it from other diseases is often difficult, especially in the absence of other known persons affected by the condition. Common...

Botulism Outcomes and Long-Term and Permanent Injury

In the past 50 years, mortality from botulism has fallen dramatically (from about 50% to 8%) because of advances in supportive care, which is the mainstay of treatment. The respiratory...

Outbreak Database

Looking for a comprehensive list of outbreaks?

The team at Marler Clark is here to answer all your questions. Find out if you’re eligible for a lawsuit, what questions to ask your doctor, and more.

View Outbreak Database