PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Use proper canning techniques
Be sure to use proper techniques when canning foods at home to ensure that any botulism germs in the food are destroyed:
- Pressure cook these foods at 250 F (121 C) for at least 30 minutes.
- Consider boiling these foods for 10 minutes before serving them.
Prepare and store food safely
- Don't eat preserved food if its container is bulging or if the food smells spoiled. However, taste and smell won't always give away the presence of C. botulinum. Some strains don't make food smell bad or taste unusual.
- If you wrap potatoes in foil before baking them, eat them hot or store them in the refrigerator — not at room temperature.
- Store oils infused with garlic or herbs in the refrigerator.
To reduce the risk of infant botulism, avoid giving honey — even a tiny taste — to babies under the age of 1 year.
To prevent wound botulism and other serious bloodborne diseases, never inject or inhale street drugs.
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- Principles of home canning. United States Department of Agriculture. http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html. Accessed March 22, 2012.
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