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Botulism risk in Hay River pesto

The Department of Health and Social Services (HSS) is warning people of the risk of botulism in pesto from Hay River. 

Dr. Andre Corriveau, Chief Public Health Officer, is advising anyone who purchased the ready to eat pesto prepared by Riverside Growers NT and sold at the Fisherman’s Wharf Market in Hay River on July 7 and 14 to discard it and not eat it.

There is a risk of botulism related to consuming this product.

Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that affects the nervous system and can cause paralysis. The toxin is produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, which is found commonly in nature.

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The most common way of getting botulism is by eating or drinking contaminated foods and beverages, such as improperly prepared low-acid, home-canned foods.

Symptoms of botulism can include fatigue, weakness and dizziness, blurred or double vision, dryness in the mouth, throat and nose and difficulty in swallowing and speaking, a headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and, less commonly, diarrhea and paralysis that starts in the shoulders and arms and moves down the body.

Severe cases of botulism can lead to paralysis of the breathing muscles, respiratory or heart failure and death.

Symptoms of foodborne botulism generally begin 12 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food but can begin as soon as 6 hours after exposure, or as long as 10 days later.

Riverside Growers NT have contacted people who bought the pesto and directed them to throw it out and not eat it. 

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Riverside Growers NT posted on their Facebook page apologizing for the error and stating that “due to lack of labelling the health authority has requested a recall. The jars did not indicate Refrigeration was necessary. Without refrigeration, there is the potential for botulism.”

Riverside Growers NT posted on their Facebook again this morning saying that they had reached all but four of their customers.

HSS is advising anyone who has consumed this product and has any of the symptoms to seek medical attention.

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