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Your Yum! Story For Today: Castleberry Recall Isn't Just Them


Then again, one could just quit reading Food Recall stories. But this one rather stood out for weirdness--not salmonella, not e. coli, but botulism for chrissakes. The stuff you are told to worry about if you eat badly-home-canned food or go to a lot of church potlucks.

There hasn't been a case of botulism in commercially-canned food in well over 30 years. Way to go, Bushie. Loosen those food-safety standards! The free market will take care of the problem, right?

However there is the minor matter of the stores that sold this stuff. Castleberry brand doesn't must make Castleberry Brand products it seems. They make shit for just about everybody (except Hormel. Spam is safe.) On the just-released-very-expanded list are such items as:

Kroger Hot Dog Chili Sauce, 10 oz. cans (Kroger=everyplace)

Best Yet Chili with Beans, 15 oz. cans (Best Yet=house brand across wide range of regional stores)

And the big UH oh....

Great Value Chili with Beans, 15 oz. cans

* Great Value Hot Chili with Beans, 15 oz. cans

Great Value=House brand for Wal Mart.

And oh yeah, there's also

UPDATE NOTE: If you read this before please click on "read more" and look again. I have received information from "someone not authorized to talk to the media" about this botulism shit. Useful informaton indeed.

Steak N Shake Chili, 10 oz. cans

Guess what I have* a half-eaten can of in my refrigerator?

On the happy side, neither Prince Namor nor Sox has had any of it; the Prince refuses to touch anything except chili he has made himself and will, I know, just sneer cruelly at me as I am writing my last if this stuff poisons me. And I just use about a tablespoon per serving on my version of Weiner King Special dogs: chili, melted cheese, coleslaw and sour cream. An item to violate every possible standard of edibility, taste, politically proper eating, nutrition etc. Be a bitch if botulism rather than the innumerable other defects of this dish does me in.

On the bright side, the resulting lawsuit will set the boys up for life. Who says there are no upsides in Bushworld?

*okay, "had" in my refrigerator. It has been trashed. My only consolation is that i was out of hot dogs anyway.

UPDATE: My source is leaving the job soon but presently works in Public Health at the state level and has some interesting inside dope to share that isn't being talked about openly yet. Take advantage and spread this around if you can; if not just remember where you saw it if it turns out you have a Need to Know: From the CDC FAQ on Botulism:

If you develop signs or symptoms of botulism, seek medical attention immediately. These include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, and muscle weakness. If untreated, the illness may progress from head to toe, with paralysis of the face, arms, breathing muscles, trunk, and legs. Symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as early as 6 hours or as late as 10 days.
If your physician suspects botulism, he or she should contact local or state health officials, who may collect any leftover product and cans.

My source, who we will call Deep Chili in honor of the first product known to be botulized, adds the following useful tips:

...if you have any reason to believe you've been affected, talk to your doctor. In fact, talk to your doctor anyway. The Texas cases were in and out of nearby ERs for several days before any doctor even suspected food poisoning. That's typical in cases like these; foodborne botulism is extremely uncommon -- so much so that doctors simply don't look for it: it's on the zebra end of the hoofbeat spectrum.

So maybe you're like me and don't have "a doctor" just delighted to have people with no money or insurance show up at his/her door. You've got the list of symptoms, right? Just wait till they show up (which they most likely won't) and then you can google to see what home remedies you can use.

This will not work for botulism. This is not a bug like salmonella or e. coli that makes you puke and poop and be miserable for a few days then goes away whether you see a doctor or not. This is a toxin which, if the generating organism kicks out enough of it, will paralyze your breathing muscles and kill you.

If you get the symptoms listed above go to the fucking ER and do what you have to do, i.e. lie your ass off and sign any papers shoved in your face "G. W. Cheney". If such untruthfulness troubles you, remember you can pay them back eventually out of the Castleberry lawsuit proceeds.

DISCLAIMER: Of course, we're not medical doctors and we're not offering medical advice. YMMV, your own risk, et cetera.--Lambert

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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I was all ready to come back in a superior and condescending way and accuse you of misreading HOT DOG sauces as being "dog food" but went to check the list again.

Hadn't even noticed way, way down at the bottom:

Also, four varieties of Natural Balance Eatables dog food were recalled:

* Irish Stew with Beef, 15 oz.

* Chinese Take Out with Sauce with Vegetables and Chicken, 15 oz.

* Southern Style Dumplings with Gravy with Chicken and Vegetables, 15 oz.

* Hobo Chili with Chicken, 15 oz.

that you are absolutely right. I smite myself with the Eggplant of Embarassment.

Botulism is a very bad bug. Not only does it like the anaerobic environment of a can or a jar, but it can survive temperatures of 212 so that its spores can stay in the food and grow.
AB: Now just out of curiosity, Doctor Brooks, what would our viewers win if they were to get botulism?
JB: Well, you get three to six weeks of being fully conscious but also fully paralyzed.

Wide awake. Can't move a muscle.

Ruth's picture
Submitted by Ruth on

A week or so before the recall of IAMS canned catfood I had found some for sale at my favorite store, and as IAMS was a delicacy, it was not 'out of date' and it was very cheap, I bought up some. When it was recalled, luckily I had put the cans at the back of my canned supply, checked the website and found it didn't meet the recall qualifier, the code was slightly different. I still felt dubious, held off. A few days later, the recall was expanded to include all of the above, and out it went. My suspicion though: was there private information about this batch? and just why was it marked down?


Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Some of these products just prior to the recall were being "fronted" which means they were on special display in the stores. (I am told this is a practice the vendor or food label pays extra for. The store then puts the product on the ends of isles and in places most likely to catch the attention of the shoppers.)

They were trying to unload it. They don't have to share information, they made it they know it's related. The question is will the stores involved sue them or will the company be prosecuted for trying to unload product that they knew was about to be recalled?

Many of these products are lower end labels bought by many poor people that may have already eaten them, or be completely unaware of the recall. Recalling the food after a major sales push on "value" brands is a really dirty practice.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Likely the um, other ingredients overcame the botulism, i'm feeling queasy already.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I know it sounds a bit weird but I got hooked on these back in Danville IL when the store was Weiner Works. Apparently some kind of issue of a copyrightish nature arose over the name, or else it changed hands, and it turned into the King version.

Was never as good after that, truth be told. They changed suppliers on the dogs, which had been of Ball Park quality (best, imho) and they got progressively shorter and skinnier as the years went on.

I sort of miss it, and am frequently tempted to try a guerilla sneak into town just to grab a bagfull. With my luck though I'd run into either a family member or somebody who would rat me out to them, so the urge must be resisted.

yes, yes I am a bad daughter. It is cruel and heartless of me to deprive my mom of a chance to point out how much more successful, more churchgoing, better dressed, non-smoking, non-drinking, non-living-in-sinning, and generally better person all round my sister is than me. So it goes.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I personally would hold off on such accusations. Stores are always running end-cap specials, or pseudospecials (like "Wow! 4 Fer a Buck!" for an item which, when you go check its regular place in the middle of the aisle, turne out to be priced at....$.25 per unit) on something or other.

In case you haven't noticed (I'm not being snide; you may not be the regular food shopper in your household) grocery prices have been going relentlessly upward lately, largely because of the upsurge in shipping costs.

So it is to the store's advantage to push their store/generic brands as loss leaders. "Green beans 79 cents!" sounds good. If they sold Green Giant at that price they take a loss. However they can sell Best Yet for that price and make a penny a can or so and hope some percent of shoppers will buy the Green Giant anyway because of perceived higher quality, better taste or whatever.

You make a good point about the greater sales of these products to the poor, which is (often) to say the uninformed. But it is also not in the store's interest to get their asses sued to kingdom come, which would quite certainly happen if there was any indication that they had insider knowledge of an upcoming recall and pushed the product anyway.

I know the people who run my little local grocery (non-chain) and they have been hard hit by the damn recalls lately, peanut butter and dog/cat food particularly. Stuff that just doesn't sell they can pass along to the salvage stores (aka "scratch 'n' dent" shops) for those of us who consider expiration dates more as suggestions than Holy Writ. But recalled items are just a dead loss as it costs more to try to get the mfgr to take them back than it does to just throw them away.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Just reread your comment above, all the way through this time for content. Don’t know you and you don’t know me but I’m gonna be bold here anyway, as this blog is as much a confessional and a collegium as it is anything and it appears that some of us have travelled down similar paths.

You aren’t the only prodigal, others have escaped the narrowness, the cloister, the zombie life. So many people who think they have seen the light in fact have never even been outside, in the great big wonderful world where we live. I would never go back but it is hard, sometimes, being separated from what we grew up with.

Still, this is my path, not theirs; my journey, and mine alone, and no one else can say how it should be traveled. Not everyone is brave enough to live life on their own terms. It is very nice to meet a fellow adventurer.

Whitman, again and always:

O to escape utterly from others' anchors and holds!
To drive free! to love free! to dash reckless and dangerous!
To court destruction with taunts--with invitations!
To ascend--to leap to the heavens of the love indicated to me!
To rise thither with my inebriate Soul!
To be lost, if it must be so!

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I think you should get a brain......I just KNEW somehow this would be Bush's fault, too. Holy Toledo....get a life!!!

Submitted by lambert on

Or are saying that it's Bush's tough regulation yadda yadda yadda.

Or that the marketplace is in fact magical, because if enough people die, some zek notices?

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.