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How Botulism Can Come from Commercial FoodsCases of foodborne botulism in the U.S. are rare, typically numbering between 10 and 30 each year. Some botulism cases originate from people canning and preserving their own foods. Cracks or leaks in a food container will allow harmful bacteria to grow inside the food. You would not have anyone to file a lawsuit against if your own negligence in storing your food caused your illness. However, there are cases of foodborne botulism coming from commercial food producers, who can be held liable for illnesses that their products cause.

Commercial Canning

Commercially canned foods are less likely to contain bacteria than the food people can themselves at home because businesses have safety standards that they must follow, including:

  • Heating the cans long enough to kill spores that may cause botulism; and
  • Sealing the cans to prevent food contamination.

Foods that are low in acid are more vulnerable to bacteria, such as vegetables, fruits, and fish. You may recognize that canned food is contaminated if the can is bulging or the food gives off a bad odor. However, the bacteria do not always change the food’s taste or odor.

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