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Foodborne botulism is a food poisoning caused by a toxin produced by the bacteria, Clostridium botulinum. It occurs naturally in soil. It is not spread person-to-person. A person must eat contaminated food that has not been properly cooked or reheated after the toxin has been produced by the bacteria. This toxin does not have a bad odor or taste to food. Botulism most often develops after consuming improperly processed home-canned foods or home-preserved meats.

Classic symptoms of botulism are brain-related in nature, including blurred or double vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, and muscle weakness. Infants with botulism appear tired, feed poorly, are constipated, and have a weak cry and poor muscle tone. If untreated, these symptoms may progress to cause paralysis and death.


Utah Department of Health
Bureau of Epidemiology
Fax: 801-538-9913
288 North 1460 West
PO Box 142104
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2104

24-Hour Urgent Event & Disease Reporting

1-888-EPI-UTAH (374-8824)

Regular Business Hours:

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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