This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is recalling a brand of herbal drink over concerns that it may contain dangerous bacteria linked to the botulism toxin.
A recall has been issued for the Nuba brand of carob drink sold in 750 ml bottles with a best-before date of Sept. 30, 2023.
The agency says the product may contain Clostridium botulinum, which produces the toxin that causes botulism.
The beverage was sold in Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec and may have been distributed to other provinces or territories, according to the health agency. Thus far, there have been no reported illnesses associated with the carob drink.
"Our products are highly acidic, with low pH levels, which prevent the growth of C.botulinum, a bacteria that requires pH levels above 4.6 to thrive and produce toxins," reads the statement from Drink Nuba.
What is botulism?
Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body's nervous system. Botulism is not spread from person to person but rather from injecting illicit drugs or consuming food or beverages contaminated with the Clostridium botulinum toxin.
Food products contaminated with the toxin may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick and cause death in severe cases.
Symptoms of botulism poisoning in adults may include slurred speech, generalized weakness and paralysis.
How to prevent botulism
The spores of the botulism bacteria are widespread in nature and commonly found in soil, dust, sediments at the bottom of lakes and oceans and the intestines of animals.
In most cases, the spores rarely cause problems because they do not grow when exposed to oxygen. However, canned goods and other sealed food and beverages provide ideal conditions for bacteria growth.
You can help prevent botulism by following safe food handling practices, including:
Promptly refrigerating leftovers.
Using foods that are stored in oil within ten days of opening.
Keeping foods stored in oil in the fridge.
Never eat canned foods that are dented, bulging or leaking.
Honey can contain the bacteria spores that produce the botulism toxin, which is why honey should never be given to an infant. After a child turns one, they have developed bacteria in their intestines that protect against botulism.