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Improperly Home-canned Potatoes suspected as source of Botulism Outbreak

Colorized Scanning Electron Micrograph of Clostridium Botulinum.
April 29, 2015
Ohio Department of Health officials say the likely source of the Lancaster botulism outbreak is home-canned potatoes used in a potato salad.

Agency testing has narrowed the source to potato salad served at the April 19 potluck at Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster.

One person died of the illness, and officials have confirmed 20 other cases and 10 suspected cases.

A dozen people are still in the hospital.

How to SAFELY can potatoes at home (USDA)

Canning potatoes requires a pressure canner (Courtesy: Outdoor guy)


Quantity:

An average of 20 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 13 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bag weighs 50 pounds and yields 18 to 22 quarts—an average of 2-1/2 to 3 pounds per quart.

Quality:

Select small to medium-size mature potatoes of ideal quality for cooking. Tubers stored below 45°F may discolor when canned. Choose potatoes 1 to 2 inches in diameter if they are to be packed whole.

Procedure:

Wash and peel potatoes. Place in ascorbic acid solution to prevent darkening. If desired, cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Drain. Cook 2 minutes in boiling water and drain again. For whole potatoes, boil 10 minutes and drain. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Fill hot jars with hot potatoes and fresh hot water, leaving 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process.

Recommended process time for White Potatoes in a dial-gauge pressure canner

Source: USDA, 2009
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