The company linked to a botulism outbreak in Spain has restarted production after a series of inspections.

Five confirmed and four probable cases of botulism have been reported from June 21 to July 22. Patients range from 23 to 63 years old with a median age of 49. Three confirmed patients required medical attention in intensive care units but no deaths have been reported.

There was a common link to different packaged brands of Spanish omelet (tortilla de patata), which is made with potatoes and eggs, purchased in various supermarkets. All cases had eaten tortilla de patata before becoming ill and products had been made by the same company. Suspected items were also distributed to Andorra, France, and Portugal.

Botulinum poisoning is a rare but life-threatening condition, caused by toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. It can paralyze muscles, including those used for breathing.

All clear at production site
Grupo Empresarial Palacios Alimentación said the production line at the Mudrián factory has been reopened after approval from the Ministry of Health at the Junta de Castilla y León, which supervises its activity. Production was stopped and products were removed from sale in July.

The plant has been inspected up to seven times in the past month and official checks have not found any problems. All official and company analyzes carried out on the products and manufacturing processes have been negative for Clostridium botulinum and botulinum toxin, according to the company.

Palacios Alimentación said procedures had been reinforced but it was important to always follow the guidelines, recommendations for use and conservation instructions on the labeling of such items, as well as information from the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) and health authorities.

The company added it would continue to regularly carry out control checks and improvement procedures to preserve the quality and safety of its products.

All items with a batch number equal to or greater than 10001 and an expiration date later than September 2 are safe to eat. Spanish omelet’s with lot numbers between 5426 and 5563 were earlier withdrawn from the market and should not be consumed.

Packaged Spanish omelet products should have been kept refrigerated and investigators are also looking at the distribution, storage and transport steps.

Details of those sick
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported that Neurotoxin type B has been identified in three of five confirmed patients.

Italy recorded two cases of botulism linked to Spanish omelets eaten in Spain. Patients are a 23-year-old woman and her 61-year-old father who returned home from Valladolid on July 1, having consumed the suspect item on June 30.

The other three confirmed patients live in Madrid, Galicia and Asturias and are aged 43, 49 and 50. Four probable patients are from Valencia, Andalusia and Madrid and are aged 49, 27, 63 and 48.

In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food. However, they can occur as soon as six hours or up to 10 days later. Symptoms may include double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing or breathing, paralysis, a thick-feeling tongue, dry mouth, and muscle weakness.

Anyone who has eaten suspect products and developed symptoms should immediately seek medical attention.

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