Hundreds of Coffee Products Recalled Over Botulism Fears

Hundreds of Coffee Products Recalled Over Botulism Fears

Hundreds of canned coffee products made by Snapchill have been recalled over fears they could contain the botulinum toxin, which can cause the potentially lethal food poisoning botulism.

The Wisconsin-based company, which makes a variety of canned coffees, issued a voluntary recall on June 17 because its current coffee-making process could lead to the growth and production of botulinum toxin in low-acid canned food, according to an announcement from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Low acid canned foods are particularly susceptible to supporting the botulinum toxin. The FDA noted that the low-acid canned foods process the company uses was not filed with the agency, as regulations require.

“No illnesses have been reported, and Snapchill is not aware of any instances in which the company’s products contained this pathogen,” Snapchill told Health in a statement. “Nevertheless, Snapchill is voluntarily conducting this recall in cooperation with the FDA. At Snapchill, the safety and satisfaction of our customers are our highest priorities, and we are working swiftly to resolve the issue. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience or concern this recall may cause.”

The canned coffees were distributed nationwide through a range of coffee roasters and retailers and could also be purchased on the company’s website, according to the FDA. The recalled products are sold under various roaster and brand names—meaning they aren’t all under the Snapchill name—in metal can sizes ranging from 7 ounces to 12 ounces.

The impacted cans contain the language “Produced and distributed by Snapchill LLC” underneath the nutrition facts label, and some have the text “Snapchill Coffee” on the label. The more than 200 impacted products and brands are detailed on the FDA’s website. They include Bolt Coffee, Euphoria Coffee, and Madcap Coffee, among many others.

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Botulism is a rare and potentially fatal form of food poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s caused by a toxin made by Clostridium botulinum and related bacteria. The toxin attacks the body’s nerves and causes a range of severe symptoms, including trouble breathing, muscle paralysis, and death.

“There are spores found in the environment, but they can be inactivated by pasteurization,” Thomas Russo, MD, a professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York, told Health. “If they’re not inactivated and end up in conditions where they can germinate, the spores can become an active toxin.” 

If you drink or eat that toxin, you can end up getting sick, Russo added. Botulism is “a potentially lethal disease,” he said. “Obviously, if we can avoid that outcome, we want to do that.”

Symptoms of botulism can start anywhere from six hours to two weeks after consuming food that contains botulinum toxin, per the FDA.

If you have the impacted canned coffee at home, the FDA recommends either destroying it or getting a refund by returning it to Snapchill or wherever you purchased the coffee.

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