Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600937


     Growth of the bacterium CLOSTRIDIUM BOTULINUM in canned
food  may cause botulism--a deadly form of  food  poisoning.
These  bacteria  exist  either as spores  or  as  vegetative
cells.  The spores, which are comparable to plant seeds, can
survive  harmlessly in soil and water for many years.   When
ideal  conditions  exist  for  growth,  the  spores  produce
vegetative  cells which multiply rapidly and may  produce  a
deadly toxin within 3 to 4 days of growth in an  environment
consisting of:                                              

     *  a moist, low-acid food.                             
     *  a temperature between 40 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
     *  less than 2 percent oxygen.                         

     Botulinum  spores  are  on most  fresh  food  surfaces.
Because  they  grow  only in the absence of  air,  they  are
harmless on fresh foods.                                    

     Most  bacteria,  yeasts   and molds  are  difficult  to
remove from food surfaces.  Washing fresh food reduces their
numbers only slightly.  Peeling root crops, underground stem
crops,   and   tomatoes  reduces  their   numbers   greatly.
Blanching also helps, but the vital controls are the  method
of  canning and making sure the  recommended  research-based
process times are used.                                     

     The recommended processing times ensure destruction  of
the largest expected number of heat-resistant microorganisms
in home-canned foods.  Properly sterilized canned food  will
be  free of spoilage if lids seal and jars are stored  below
95 degrees Fahrenheit.   Storing  jars  at  50 to 70 degrees
Fahrenheit  enhances  retention  of quality.                

Go To Top of File        MSU Extension Home Page        Main Page for this Data Base

This information is for educational purposes only. References to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. This information becomes public property upon publication and may be printed verbatim with credit to MSU Extension. Reprinting cannot be used to endorse or advertise a commercial product or company. This file was generated from data base 01 on 03/09/98. Data base 01 was last revised on 10/13/97. For more information about this data base or its contents please contact wrublec@msue.msu.edu . Please read our disclaimer for important information about using our site.