Can some simple nachos with cheese kill us?


Sacramento, California. You calmly go to refuel at a gas station and ask for some nachos with cheese. So far everything normal. In the following hours, symptoms begin: tiredness, weakness, blurred vision, vomiting, breathing problems and difficulty speaking. Diagnosis: food poisoning by botulinum toxin.

This has happened in California, where ten people have been hospitalized and at least one has died, due to an outbreak of botulism caused by cheese sauce. The health authorities continue to investigate and the brand responsible for the sauce ensures that its facilities are free of the bacteria. So how is it possible that the poisoning has occurred?

The Clostridium botulinum It is a dangerous bacteria that thrives in humid, low-acid and low-oxygen environments, such as home preserves or incorrectly packaged products, at a lower temperature than necessary for sterilization. The neurotoxin it causes has devastating effects on the body - to the point of being used as a biological weapon - and a mortality rate of 5% of cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Spanish Agency for Consumption, Food Safety and Nutrition (AECOSAN) points out that "botulinum toxin can be found in various foods, including canned vegetables with low acidity, such as green beans, spinach, mushrooms and beets; fish, including canned tuna and fermented, salted and smoked fish, and meat products, eg ham and sausages. "

Despite the fact that food poisoning due to botulism is exceptional (between 5 and 10 cases a year in Spain) and even more rare in industrial products, in the epidemic outbreak in California one person has already died and another is in critical condition.

Martín Galindo Larios Jr., 37, had gone to the Walnut Grove gas station in Sacramento, where he bought the famous nachos with cheese. Although he was treated as soon as he presented the first symptoms, the doctors finally could not do anything for his life. The family - a wife and two children - who depended financially on him have launched a fundraising campaign to survive, while the lawsuit they have filed against the gas station prospers.

Meanwhile, Lavinia Kelly, a mother of three, remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, unable to move, speak, or breathe on her own, or even open her eyes.
He went to the same establishment to refuel on April 23 when he was returning home from work. He ordered the same nachos with cheese and 24 hours later he had blurred vision, muscle weakness, vomiting, and trouble breathing. Since then, he needs medical support to survive and his family has also asked for citizen collaboration to support himself financially, while the responsibility for the poisoning is investigated.

The cheese sauce distribution company, Gehl Foods, has released a statement to express its concern about the health status of the 9 people who are still admitted and confirm that they reviewed the food safety protocols of their factory as soon as they received the notice, without finding remains of the bacteria. Just in case, the batch involved has been withdrawn and the responsible authorities continue to investigate where the origin of the contamination could be.

Via | CNN
Images | Herson Rodríguez / Unsplash | Support for Martin Galindo | Gehl Foods
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