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What is Clostridium botulinum?

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Clostridium botulinum are bacteria responsible for serious food poisoning, says the U.S Department of Agriculture. The neurotoxin produced by C. botulinum is one of the most toxic chemical known to science, and ingesting it causes botulism.

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Foods particularly linked to botulism include fermented fish, honey and baked potatoes kept in aluminum foil. Found in soil, C. botulinum spores are common throughout the world, reports the USDA. The spores are typically harmless unless they grow into active bacteria that generate neurotoxic chemicals. This bacteria's neurotoxin paralyzes, degrades and destroys nerve tissue. To avoid botulism when canning at home, people should follow all established canning and storage procedures.

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