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Home Canning And Botulism

What You Need to Know

  • You can not see, smell, or taste the toxin that triggers botulism, but taking even a small taste of food including the toxin can be fatal.
  • Follow these steps to protect yourself and others from botulism:
    • Constantly use proper canning strategies.
    • If you have any doubt about whether food was canned properly, throw it out.
    • Throw out any canned food with signs of contamination. Never taste food to see if it's safe.
  • Botulism is an emergency situation. Seek medical assistance immediately if you or someone you know has symptoms.

Different canned and pressure canned food products Home canning is an outstanding method to preserve garden fruit and vegetables and share it with friends and family. But it can be dangerous-- or perhaps fatal-- if not done correctly and safely. Home-canned veggies are the most common cause of botulism break outs in the United States. Learn how you can preserve veggies-- in addition to fruits, meats, seafood, and more-- properly and securely.

What is botulism?
Botulism is an unusual but severe health problem brought on by a toxic substance that attacks the body's nerves. It can cause difficulty breathing, muscle paralysis, and even death. The toxic substance is made most often by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Improperly canned, protected, or fermented foods can supply the best conditions for the bacteria to make the toxic substance.

You can not see, smell, or taste the toxin, however taking even a little taste of food containing it can be deadly.

Botulism is a medical emergency situation. If you or somebody you understand has symptoms of botulism, contact your medical professional or go to the emergency clinic instantly.

How can I avoid botulism from home-canned foods?
You can protect yourself, your household, and others by following these tips.

1. Use correct canning methods
The best method to prevent foodborne botulism is by thoroughly following instructions for safe house canning from the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning. Only use dishes and cookbooks that follow the steps in the USDA guide. Don't use other recipes, even if you got them from a relied on good friend or relative.

You can learn more about proper home canning from these resources:
The National Center for Home Food Preservation
State and county extension services (click your state or scroll down for a list of all services).

2. Use the right devices for the type of food you are canning
Low-acid foods are the most common sources of botulism connected to home canning. These foods have a pH level greater than 4.6. Low-acid foods include most veggies (consisting of asparagus, green beans, beets, corn, and potatoes), some fruits (including some tomatoes and figs), milk, all meats, fish, and other seafood.

Pressure canning is the only recommended technique for canning low-acid foods.

  • Do not utilize a boiling water canner for low-acid foods since it will not protect versus botulism.
  • Do not utilize an electrical, multi-cooker home appliance, even if it has a "canning" or "steam canning" button on the front panel. Find out more.

When pressure canning, keep the following things in mind.

  • Use an advised pressure canner that holds at least 4 one-quart containers sitting upright on the rack.
  • Make certain the gauge of the pressure canner is precise. Lots of county extension offices will check assesses. Contact the pressure canner manufacturer for other choices.
  • Clean cover gaskets and other parts according to the manufacturer's directions.
  • Vent the pressure canner prior to pressurizing and follow advised cooling steps.
  • Use current processing times and pressures for the kind of food, the size of container, and the approach of packaging food in the container. Pay unique attention to processing times for low-acid foods.

Review USDA's Complete Guide to Home Canning [PDF-- 40 pages] to learn more on pressure canning.

3. When in doubt, throw it out!
If you have any doubt whether safe canning standards have actually been followed, do not eat the food.

Home-canned and store-bought food might be contaminated with toxins or damaging bacteria if:.

  • the container is dripping, bulging, or inflamed;
  • the container looks damaged, split, or unusual;
  • the container spurts liquid or foam when opened; or
  • the food is blemished, musty, or smells bad.

What else should I understand about preventing botulism?

  • Refrigerate any canned or pickled foods after you open them.
  • Constantly use traditional approaches when preparing Alaska Native foods.
  • Cool homemade oils instilled with garlic or herbs and get rid of any unused oils after 4 days.
  • If you bake potatoes covered in aluminum foil, keep them hot (at temperature levels hotter than 140 ° F) till they are served or refrigerate them with the foil loosened so they get air.