Catering Glossary

clostridium botulinum

Type of bacteria which produces a toxin leading to serious, life-threatening food poisoning (botulism).

Sources of infection are contaminated foods preserved in tins and jars such as meat, fish and vegetables. The toxin is destroyed during preparation but bacterial spores survive and produce toxins in the absence of oxygen.

Botulism causes paralysis in all parts of the body which can only be treated with an antitoxin. Bloated tins (bacteria produce gas) should be discarded unopened.