Rare but avoidable: questions and answers about botulism

Updated BfR FAQ, 15 June 2023

Botulism is a serious disease caused by toxins known as “botulinum neurotoxins”. Under certain conditions, these toxins are produced in food or animal feed by bacteria mainly of the species Clostridium (C.) botulinum and are then ingested with food or animal feed. In rare cases, the bacterium itself can also  cause botulism. The disease usually leads to specific neurological disorders, e.g. vision disorders, dry mouth, speech and swallowing disorders, and can be fatal. Both humans and animals can fall ill, and among the latter cattle and also poultry, such as chickens and turkeys, are primarily affected.

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