Can there be botulism in pickles?
From time immemorial, canned vegetables are such a familiar and integral part of the daily food of thousands of people that the very idea that there is a mortal danger in favorite pickles does not fit in the minds of ordinary people. Meanwhile, it is precisely the underestimation of this threat that can lead to the most serious consequences - starting from a long stay in the hospital and ending with a fatal outcome.
Many people know the word “botulism”, but for some reason, most often, it is associated with mushroom poisoning, which is fundamentally wrong and is the most dangerous delusion. In the overwhelming majority of cases, botulism occurs after eating a variety of homemade canned products - zucchini, mushrooms, berries, and many others.
For many, canned pickles are the main and favorite snack for main courses in the winter. Can there be botulism in pickles, what are the signs of such poisoning, and how to avoid it? Let's figure it out.
What is botulism
Botulism is a formidable and dangerous disease that is difficult to treat. Even with timely and highly skilled patient care can not be saved. The causative agent of this disease is an anaerobic bacillus - Clostridium botulinum. In medical practice, there are two of its forms:
- and spore.
The optimal conditions for the growth of vegetative forms of botulism is a temperature of about 30–35 degrees Celsius and anaerobic conditions (being without oxygen).
The permanent residence of the spore forms of botulism is the soil, where their viability can last up to several years. Spores have a robust capsule that protects them from high temperatures, the effects of a number of chemical and physical disinfectants. In this form, the spores of botulism do not die even when boiled for up to 5 hours. Spores are also resistant to desiccation, freezing and exposure to ultraviolet rays.
Where botulism in cucumbers
Since cucumbers grow in most cases when they come into contact with the soil, and it is possible that the soil contains spore forms of botulism, infection may be inevitable. Even after a good, careful processing of cucumbers, botulism is preserved.
As everyone knows, a good anaerobic environment is preserved in a canned food jar, which is most favorable for clostridium producing a specific neurotoxin. Such botulism toxin in canned cucumbers can persist for years in homemade spins. When a neurotoxin gets into the digestive tract, it is also not inactivated by the body's acids and continues to adversely affect many organs and systems. It should also be borne in mind that botulism in pickles does not produce itself in any way - they look appetizing, they have no specific smell and taste.
Another feature of the causative agent of this disease is its "nest" distribution of food. Thus, people who consumed canned products from one can, in our case, cucumbers, can get infected not all, but only those who get a neurotoxin.
Signs of action of the neurotoxin botulism
- The first signs of the disease can be observed after the first 24 hours, but, perhaps, lengthening the incubation period up to 10 days.
- The majority of victims initially observed signs of gastroenterocolitis syndrome - abdominal pain, rumbling, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting.
- Against the background of dyspeptic manifestations, there is a headache, perhaps an increase in body temperature, malaise - all these signs are observed only on the first day of the disease.
- After the disappearance of these symptoms, atony of the gastrointestinal tract increases, and the first symptoms of neurological, respiratory and ophthalmological disorders appear.
- Visual acuity is disturbed: double vision, "front sight", fog.
- Ptosis develops - patients cannot open their eyes due to the overhang of the upper eyelids.
- Dry mouth.
- Muscle weakness - as the disease progresses, patients cannot move independently.
- There is nasalism, changes the timbre of the voice.
- The function of swallowing is impaired - patients complain of the feeling of not swallowed pills. In the future, the situation worsens and the patient cannot swallow even liquid food - it pours out through the nose. As a result of such disturbances, food aspiration or saliva can occur, leading to complications such as tracheobronchitis or aspiration pneumonia.
- Patients feel strong compression of the chest, breathing becomes painful. This is explained by the fact that there is a weakness of the intercostal muscles, which do not already fully perform their functions.
In the event of the occurrence of the above symptoms should immediately seek highly qualified assistance.
Prevention of botulism in canned cucumbers
Prevention of botulism in pickled cucumbers is based on compliance with basic hygiene requirements, namely storage and preparation of products. Vegetative forms of botulism die at 80 degrees Celsius if they have been heated for 30 minutes. Under unfavorable living conditions, they turn into spore forms that are resistant to many environmental factors. In order to kill the spores fully, it is necessary to boil the product for 4–5 hours.
But neurotoxins, which are already produced in canned products (under anaerobic conditions) die by boiling quickly enough. In order to “neutralize” botulism in cucumbers, it is necessary to boil a jar with a homemade spin for 10–15 minutes. Thus, you will achieve the complete neutralization of botulinum toxin and you can safely use homemade spins.
It is also not necessary to use cucumbers from "bombing" cans, which indicate that they contain any bacteria.
In no case do not purchase canned products, in particular, cucumbers, from strangers and in retail outlets that have not undergone sanitary and epidemiological surveillance. Very often, it is precisely such products that lead to food poisoning and, possibly, not the most pleasant long-term consequences.
So, can there be botulism in canned cucumbers? Yes maybe! The danger of the action of neurotoxin is difficult to exaggerate, however, the observance of simple rules and precautions will help avoid many serious health problems. It's time to remember the truism:
It is easier to prevent the disease than to treat it.