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The FDA has warned consumers not to use various brands of hot dog chili sauce because they have been linked to botulism that has sent four people to the hospital.

The recall includes 10 ounce cans of Castleberry’s, Austex, and Kroger Hot Dog Chili Sauce with “best by” dates from April 30, 2009 through May 22, 2009. The FDA said that it was not immediately clear how widespread distribution of the product was.

Two children in Texas and a couple from Indiana had to be hospitalized after eating the hot dog chili sauce. All four victims are expected to recover.

Botulism is a muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a toxin made by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, according to the CDC.

The side effects of botulism generally begin from 6 hours to 2 weeks after eating the contaminated food. Symptoms include double vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth and weakness that moves down the body. Botulism poisoning can have very serious adverse health effects. It can cause paralysis of breathing muscles which can lead to death.

Castleberry Food Company manufactured all the potentially contaminated products and are cooperating with the FDA and the CDC. The company is voluntarily recalling all the cans of hot dog chili sauce and state investigators are looking into the cause of the contamination and the breadth of the distribution. Botulism contamination in canned goods is extremely rare because canned foods are heated long enough and to high enough temperatures to kill the bacteria. This has been the first case of botulism in canned foods since the 1970s.

The FDA urges individuals who have recently eaten the chili sauce to immediately seek medical attention.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Defective and Dangerous Products.

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