Clostridium botulinum is a microorganism, a food contaminant, which, in itself, does not have too much danger for health. However, the bacteria is capable of producing spores that, in addition to being naturally present in the environment, are resistant to heat. In conditions of oxygen shortage, the
Clostridium botulinum is a microorganism, a food contaminant, which, in itself, does not have too much danger for health. However, the bacteria is capable of producing spores that, in addition to being naturally present in the environment, are resistant to heat. In conditions of oxygen shortage, the spores can produce a toxin that is very dangerous for health, especially in children: botulism. In Guiainfantil.com we tell you about the relationship between homemade preserves and infant botulism.
How to avoid infant botulism in homemade preserves
Food poisoning is caused by the ingestion of food contaminated with Clostridium botulinum toxins. It is a toxiinfection that occurs infrequently but is extremely serious, and may even cause death. Botulinum toxin affects the nervous system, and its symptoms usually appear between 12 and 36 hours after consumption of the contaminated food. The first symptoms include fatigue and general weakness that tend to concentrate in the arms and neck to continue towards the lower part of the body. It is also characterized by producing muscle paralysis that can culminate with a respiratory arrest when the muscles stop working.
Because this toxin is not transmitted from person to person, botulism can only be contracted by ingestion of the toxin, usually carried in food. The foods most likely to contain this toxin are canned foods, especially those made at home, or those that have been improperly prepared.
Special care should be taken with brined vegetables jud (green beans, peas, mushrooms ...), fish and seafood (tuna, sardines, cockles ...) and with meat products such as Frankfurter sausages or canned ham. Although the toxin can not be produced in acidic environments (products preserved in vinegar such as pickles), this acidic environment does not degrade toxins that were already in the food, so if the contamination is previous, the toxin can cause the same infection. way. It is difficult to determine if a food is contaminated with the microorganism
, its spores or the toxin itself, so, as far as possible, precautions should be taken when consuming canned foods such as those that have been listed.
Botulinum toxin, once it leaves the spores, is easily denatured by heat, provided an internal temperature of 85C is reached for at least 5 minutes.The case of babies is more dangerous
or even, since the spores can germinate in the intestine itself, given its immaturity, colonizing the gastrointestinal tract and producing toxins in situ, with persistent constipation being the first symptom of alarm.
The main problem in this early childhood, even up to 2 years, is honey, since it is a frequent vehicle of Clostridium botulinum and its spores. As the intestine matures, the defenses themselves are able to fight the bacterial infection, decreasing the danger considerably. According to this, it is convenient to avoid offering the baby not only honey but any food that includes it in its preparation at least during the first year.