Saturday, July 28, 2007

Don't buy that can!

Until you've checked the list. Stores are continuing to sell recalled cans:

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WASHINGTON - Stores nationwide are continuing to sell recalled canned chili, stew, hash and other foods potentially contaminated with poisonous bacteria even after repeated warnings the products could kill.

Thousands of cans are being removed from store shelves as quickly as investigators find them, more than a week after Castleberry's Food Co. began recalling more than 90 potentially contaminated products over fears of botulism contamination.

The recall now covers two years' production at the company's Augusta, Ga., plant — a tally that spirals into the tens of millions of cans.

Spot checks by the Food and Drug Administration and state officials continue to turn up recalled products for sale in convenience stores, gas stations and family run groceries, from Florida to Alaska. The FDA alone has found them in roughly 250 of the more than 3,700 stores visited in nationwide checks, according to figures the agency provided to The Associated Press.

Why is this a big deal?

FDA investigators believe Castleberry's failed to properly cook some or all the products, allowing the Clostridium botulinum bacteria to survive the canning process. In the oxygen-free and moist environment of the sealed cans, the bacteria thrive and produce a toxin that causes botulism, a muscle-paralyzing disease.

"The longer this stuff stays in the can, the worse it gets," Acheson said.

The bacteria also produce gases that can cause contaminated cans to swell and burst. Already, cans being held in a company warehouse have begun to break open. Health officials say the extremely potent toxin can infect people if it is inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the eye or breaks in the skin.

Health experts consider botulism a severe health threat but worry that word of the recall has not reached all consumers or retailers, especially mom-and-pop operations.

Here is the very long list of canned goods recalled.

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