VCH issues warning about Richmond hot sauce due to botulism scare

Vancouver Coastal Health is warning customers that a hot sauce being prepared out of a home in Richmond could cause botulism.

The VCH considers Betty’s King Sauce, a homemade sauce that has been sold online and at local markets since 2014, unsafe because of its potential to grow Clostridium botulinum bacteria.

“Inspectors discovered that the product is being produced in a person’s home in Richmond, which is not an approved and inspected facility, and the ingredients and processing method could allow for the growth of the harmful bacteria,” the VCH said in a release.

Betty’s King Sauce, which is sold in six-ounce jars for $10, contains a mix of Thai chilis, jalapeno, lemon grass, garlic, dried shrimp and dried chili flakes, according to an archived version of the Betty’s King Sauce website, which is now offline.

No illnesses have been linked to the product, but the VCH has advised the processor to cease production.

“It is unknown whether the person makes any other food products,” the release said.

Clostridium botulinum toxin in food or beverages can cause food-borne botulism, which is an extremely rare but potentially life-threatening bacterial illness. Food contaminated with the toxin may not look or smell spoiled, but when ingested can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dry throat, respiratory failure or paralysis. Most people with botulism develop symptoms 12 to 36 hours after consuming contaminated food.

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