Any consumer in possession of Al Rasheed Sardine should not eat the product after sample testing revealed the presence of one of the most deadly foodborne bacteria – the pathogen that responsible for Botulism – on Tuesday afternoon. Instead, consumers in possession of the product should return them to the place they were purchased.
Greenland Trading Corporation Recalls Al Rasheed Sardine Following Discovery of Clostridium botulinum Contamination
This afternoon, Greenland Trading Corporation announced a voluntary recall for one of its products. The announcement came after the product, Al Rasheed Sardine, tested positive for one of the more rare, lethal, and certainly frightening foodborne pathogens.
Testing and analysis conducted by New York State – Department of Agriculture detected the presence of the potentially lethal pathogen in the sardines.
Retail stores in California, Tennessee, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey all received shipments of potentially contaminated Al Rasheed Sardine.
The product is vacuum-packaged and marked with an expiration date of 03/2017 (March 2017).
The Basics of Botulism
The pathogen detected in Greenland Trading Corporation’s Al Rasheed Sardine, Clostridium botulinum, can result in life-threatening illness or death regardless of whether or not the product looks, smells or feels spoiled or “off” when used or consumed.
Botulism, the name for the form of food poisoning that results from infection with Clostridium botulinum bacteria, constitutes a potentially fatal form of food poisoning and is often evidenced by the following symptoms: general weakness, slurred speech, double vision, dizziness, and difficulty swallowing. These symptoms may be followed by progressive weakness in other muscles, difficulty breathing, and constipation.
“People experiencing these problems should seek immediate attention,” states the recall announcement.
Progression of a Deadly Disease: A Detailed Recounting
Once an individual contracts Botulism, symptoms make take as long as 2-3 days after eating contaminated food to show up; however, they may be observed as soon as six hours after ingestion in some cases.
Evolution of the Infection, Beginning to End
After symptoms begin to manifest, the already-existing symptoms worsen and new ones develop at an increasingly rapid pace.
Initially, symptoms mirror severe intoxication: droopy eyelids, double vision, dry mouth, slurred speech, and difficulty swallowing. In the majority of cases, vomiting and diarrhea follow.
Manifestations of the disease become increasingly neurological in nature, as an overall muscular weakness sets in, marking the onset of full-blown muscular paralysis. The paralysis spreads first to down the limbs, and arms, calves and thighs tighten to the extent they are no longer mobile.
Subsequently, the muscles of the chest and abdomen find it increasingly difficult to move, and it is at that point that the respiratory muscles begin to lock up.
It ultimately becomes impossible to breathe; the throat closing, rendering and the lungs are unable to expand and contract to pull in oxygen, making prophylactic intubation critical.
Throughout the entire process, an individual going through the progression of the disease never loses consciousness, and is aware of the paralysis as it spreads up their body.
If successfully intubated, an individual remains paralyzed but completely mentally alert as they hopefully embark on the long – and not strikingly successful – road to recovery.
First Potential Intervention: Diagnosis
As the disease progresses, it becomes patently clear that there is something severely wrong; however, the disease progresses quickly, and medical professionals must act accordingly.
If a doctor accurately detects symptoms of botulism, the disease will very likely not be tested for in a “conventional” way.
Due to the speed with which the disease progresses and the severity of the illness, waiting for results the conventional way simply is not an option, particularly given the fact that these “conventional” testing methods may take up to one week or more when testing for Botulism.
Most likely, the doctor or other medical professional in charge will inject the patient’s blood into a mouse and subsequently watch to see if the mouse begins to develop signs of Botulism.
Second Potential Intervention: Treatment
If found early, botulism can be treated with an antitoxin called botulinus antitoxin that blocks the toxin from circulating in the bloodstream. This typically prevents the patient’s case from worsening, but recovery still takes several weeks.
Some people are given antibiotics, but they may not always help.
Intubation and receiving nutrients via a feeding tube are two interventions that may be required for various lengths of time, depending on the patient.
In addition, medical personnel must report the case of Botulism to governmental health authorities. The health care providers have to inform state health authorities and/or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depending on the case-patient’s location, about patients with botulism.
This measure is undertaken in part so that any potentially contaminated food may be removed from stores.
“Recovery,” or, Life After Botulism
The majority of botulism patients never return to their pre-illness state of health. Generally, after somewhere between three months and a year of recovery, side-effects that still are persisting may most likely now be considered permanent. More common long-term effects include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, dry mouth, and difficulty performing strenuous tasks.
Finally, and not unsurprisingly, patients also report a generally less happy and peaceful psychological state than before their illness.