You know how every time I talk about home canning and food preservation I mention that it is an exacting process that you CAN’T do “just any old way”? Following safe and scientifically tested methods for home canning is essential to keep from sickening and even killing people.
This sad fact was illustrated in September in France.
A Wine Bar in Bordeaux reportedly preserved their own sardines and then served them to customers. Approximately 25 people were potentially exposed and 15 cases of botulism poisoning have been reported. Now one person is dead and several others are hospitalized – some on ventilators – due to botulism poisoning. Those that are still alive are dealing with varying degrees of paralysis, which they may or may not recover from. The anti-toxin, though potentially life-saving, does not reverse the paralysis caused by botulinum toxin. It stops the progression, but recovery depends upon the body regenerating the damaged nerve pathways, which can take weeks or months or years – or never happen at all.
The restaurant’s operator may be charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to news articles.
The CDC has recommendations for avoiding botulism, which is one of the most potent toxins known to man.
It doesn’t matter that your grandma used that recipe and “nobody died”. They just got lucky. Would you say that playing Russian roulette was a safe practice just because grandma survived it? Many people in past decades died and nobody knew why, or they didn’t attribute it to anything they ate. In other words – their botulism went undiagnosed. PLEASE don’t just make up your own recipes – only use laboratory-tested safe recipes for home-canning and food preservation. Your family’s lives may depend upon it.