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Mayonnaise appears to be a source of botulism outbreak



Mayonnaise appears to be a source of botulism outbreak

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have blamed contaminated mayonnaise for causing a botulism outbreak.

The Ministry of Municipal Rural Affairs and Housing provided an update this weekend on the recent illnesses at the Hamburgini restaurant chain in Riyadh.

The Ministry of Health revealed that 75 cases had been identified, including 69 citizens and six residents, and one person died. By early May, 50 cases had been diagnosed with Clostridium Botulinum. Of these, 43 had recovered and left hospital, 11 were hospitalized and 20 patients were being monitored in intensive care units.

According to the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), laboratory tests showed the presence of Clostridium Botulinum in a sample of BON TUM mayonnaise served at the restaurant.

The presence of Clostridium Botulinum was also confirmed after checks at one of the factories.

The distribution of BON TUM mayonnaise has been stopped and withdrawn from the market and food companies in all cities of the country. All remaining inventory must be destroyed. The production plant has also been suspended and legal proceedings are underway, the Ministry of Municipal Rural Affairs and Housing said.

Customers of the plant, including restaurants and food companies, have been told to throw away any affected products.

Officials said they would continue monitoring, research and inspection campaigns to ensure the safety of food offered to the public.

According to data from the Ministry of Health, 176 outbreaks were recorded in 2022, with 1,188 cases.

Botulinum poisoning is a rare but life-threatening condition caused by toxins produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. With foodborne botulism, symptoms typically begin 18 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food. However, they can occur as early as six hours or up to ten days later.

Symptoms may include double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing or breathing, paralysis (especially of the muscles used for breathing), a thick-feeling tongue, dry mouth, and muscle weakness.

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