This type of food poisoning, caused by highly toxic botulinus bacteria, can be very dangerous, and even fatal. Spores of the bacteria are extremely resistant to heat: boiling at 212° Fahrenheit (100° centigrade) requires six hours to destroy them, but only fifteen minutes at 250° Fahrenheit (120° centigrade).
The bacteria is not found in fresh vegetables or fruit, or in fresh cooked meat. Foods that may contain botulinus bacteria include:
– improperly smoked or salted ham;
– processed meats that have been exposed to air for too long;
– dead seafood that has been left exposed to the sun;
– insufficiently cooked canned beans, beets, asparagus, etc.
There is not much fever. Initial symptoms include gastric pains which become increasingly intense, sometimes accompanied by vomiting. These symptoms take at least a day, and sometimes two or three days to appear. They are soon followed by:
– vision problems, with paralysis of accommodation (focusing on objects at various distances);
– extreme dryness of the tongue and nasal passages;
– paralysis of the soft palate and pharynx;
– increasing muscular weakness;
– urine retention, etc.
If you experience one or a combination of these symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.
To prevent botulism do not conserve meat or any of the following types of foods after they have been cooked (especially in fat): potatoes, carrots, onions, beetroot, fennel, parsnip, turnip.