Can there be botulism in salted cucumbers?
Preserved vegetables since ancient times are so familiar and integral part of the daily diet of thousands of people that the very idea that in the favorite pickles can hide a mortal danger - does not fit into the minds of the townsfolk. Meanwhile, an underestimation of this threat can lead to serious consequences - from a long stay in the hospital to a fatal outcome.
Many people know the word "botulism", but, for some reason, more often than not, it correlates with poisoning with mushrooms, which is fundamentally wrong and is a dangerous delusion. In most cases, botulism occurs after eating many home-made canned foods - squash, mushrooms, berries and many others.
For many canned salted cucumbers, are the main and favorite snack for second courses in the winter. Can there be botulism in salted cucumbers, what are the signs of such poisoning, and how to avoid it? Let's understand.
What is botulism?
Botulism is a formidable and dangerous disease that can hardly be treated. Even with the timely and well-qualified help the patient can not be saved. The causative agent of this disease is an anaerobic rod called Clostridium botulinum. In medical practice, two of its forms are distinguished:
- and spore.
Optimum conditions for the growth of vegetative forms of botulism is a temperature of about 30-35 degrees Celsius and anaerobic conditions (finding without oxygen).
The permanent residence of spore forms of botulism is the soil where their viability can persist for several years. Spores have a reliable capsule that protects them from high temperatures, the effects of a number of chemical and physical disinfection agents. In this form, botulism spores do not die even after boiling for up to 5 hours. Spores are also resistant to drying, freezing and exposure to ultraviolet rays.
Whence botulism in cucumbers
Since cucumbers grow in most cases in contact with the soil, and in the soil, perhaps finding spore forms of botulism, infection can be inevitable. Even after a good, careful treatment of cucumbers, botulism persists.
As everyone knows, a good anaerobic environment remains in the canned food bank, which is the most favorable for clostridia to produce a specific neurotoxin. Such botulinum toxin in canned cucumbers can persist for years in domestic spins. When a neurotoxin enters the digestive tract, it is also not inactivated by the body's acids and continues to affect adversely on many organs and systems. It should also be borne in mind that botulism in salted cucumbers does not give itself away - they look appetizing, do not have a specific smell and taste.
Another feature of the causative agent of this disease is its "nestling" spread on the food product. Thus, people who consume canned foods from one can, in our case cucumbers, can not get everything, but only those who will get a neurotoxin.
Signs of the action of botulinum neurotoxin
- The first signs of the disease can be observed within the first 24 hours, but, probably, the lengthening of the incubation period to 10 days.
- Most of the victims initially have signs of gastroenterocolitis syndrome - abdominal pain, rumbling, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting.
- Against the background of dyspeptic manifestations, there is a headache, possibly 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 grows, and the first symptoms of neurological, respiratory and ophthalmic disorders appear.
- Violation of visual acuity: double vision, "front sight", fog.
- Ptosis develops - the patients can not open their eyes because of the overhang of the upper eyelids.
- Dryness in the mouth.
- Muscular weakness - with the progression of the disease, patients can not move independently.
- Appearing nasal, changing the timbre of the voice.
- The swallowing function is broken - the patients complain of the feeling of not swallowed a pill. In the future, the situation worsens and the patient can not swallow even liquid food - it pours out through the nose. As a result of such disorders, aspiration of food or saliva is possible, which will lead to complications such as tracheobronchitis or aspiration pneumonia.
- Patients feel a strong contraction of the chest, breathing becomes painful. This is explained by the fact that there is a weakness of the intercostal muscles, which do not perform their functions to the full.
If these symptoms occur, you should immediately apply for highly qualified care.
Prevention of botulism in canned cucumbers
Prevention of the emergence 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 a temperature of 80 degrees Celsius if subjected to heating for 30 minutes. Under unfavorable conditions of life, they turn into spore forms that are resistant to many factors of the environment. In order to kill the spores in full, it is necessary to boil the product for 4-5 hours.
But neurotoxins, which are produced already in canned foods (under anaerobic conditions) die by boiling quickly enough. In order to "neutralize" botulism in cucumbers, it is necessary to boil the jar with a home spin for 10-15 minutes. Thus, you will achieve complete neutralization of botulinum toxin and can safely eat home-made spins.
Do not also use cucumber from the "bomb" cans, which indicate that they contain any bacteria.
Do not buy canned products, in particular, cucumbers, from strangers and in outlets that have not undergone sanitary and epidemiological surveillance. Very often, it is such products that lead to food poisoning and, perhaps, to the most pleasant long-term consequences.
So, can there be botulism in canned cucumbers? Yes maybe! The danger of the action of a neurotoxin is difficult to exaggerate, however, observance of simple rules and precautions will help to avoid many serious health problems. It's time to remember the truism:
It is easier to prevent a disease than to treat it.