Two cases of foodborne botulism linked to hummus have been confirmed by Argentinian health authorities.
The National Administration of Drugs, Foods and Medical Devices (ANMAT) reported that an investigation confirmed the botulism cases and results of an epidemiological survey determined illness was associated with a hummus product.
Hummus was sold under the brand Tsuki Macro Vegan, which is based in Palermo, Buenos Aires.
The General Directorate of Hygiene and Food Safety and ANMAT inspected the processing establishment where the product was made and imposed a ban on processing and marketing. It was also detected that the product did not have the relevant sanitary authorization.
The processing firm was asked to carry out an immediate withdrawal from the national market of all units of the implicated branded hummus.
ANMAT advised the public to refrain from consuming the product, to keep the containers closed and separated from other foods. The agency also told those who sell the products to stop marketing it.
Botulism is a rare but life-threatening condition caused by toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food. However, they can start as soon as six hours after or up to 10 days later.
Botulism can cause symptoms including general weakness, dizziness, double-vision, and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also occur. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.
The latest incident follows a different outbreak in Rancul, a town in the La Pampa province of Argentina at the start of the month with four suspected cases.
Health authorities in La Pampa reported that four people older than 57 years old were in a serious condition and needed hospital treatment. The poisoning was a result of a meal shared by seven friends in Rancul.
The suspected source is preserves such as peppers that were prepared in a homemade way by one of the people who fell ill.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)