Last updated on 27 July 2012
Agency issues botulism warning update
The Food Standards Agency is warning people not to eat a certain batch of Italian olives sold in jars after one person became ill with botulism poisoning after eating them. The Agency has now received further information from the Italian Authorities confirming that 60 jars of the affected Divini Di Chicco Francesco olives product were distributed to one supplier in the UK.
The Agency has issued an updated Food Alert for Action. The news story about the original Food Alert for Action, which was issued on 25 July 2012, can be found at the link below.
The UK supplier has confirmed that the implicated product was distributed to three independent delicatessens in the UK between July 2011 and July 2012. These delicatessens have been visited by the supplier and any remaining stock of the product has been removed from sale.
The recalled product is:
- Product: Divini di Chicco Francesco Olive Bella Di Cerignola, 580g
- Best before: 10 June 2014
- Lot number: 161/11
- Producer details on label: Divini di Chicco Francesco, Via Catalina, 3, Andria (BA), Italy
About product withdrawals and recalls
If there is a problem with a food product that means it should not be sold, then it might be 'withdrawn' (taken off the shelves) or 'recalled' (when customers are asked to return the product). The Food Standards Agency issues Product Withdrawal Information Notices and Product Recall Information Notices to let consumers and local authorities know about problems associated with food. In some cases, a ‘Food Alert for Action’ is issued. This provides local authorities with details of specific action to be taken on behalf of consumers.
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Science behind the story
Botulism is rare in the UK and is caused by toxins produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which attacks the nervous system and can affect people of any age. The infection is not contagious and so cannot be spread from person to person. Symptoms of foodborne botulism typically begin between 12 and 36 hours after ingestion of contaminated food, but may appear in as little as six hours.
Symptoms to look out for are a combination of blurred vision, difficulty swallowing and difficulty speaking – symptoms that rapidly get worse. They are then followed by general muscle weakness. Any person, child or adult, with these symptoms should seek urgent medical advice. Antitoxins have proved very effective in treating the condition if treated early, although full recovery may take several months.
Anyone who has consumed this product and is concerned about the symptoms above should seek urgent medical advice.