THIS IS NOT A RECIPE!
Read and digest!
What is botulism?
précis : Between 1910 and 1919 the death rate from botulism was 70% in the United States, dropping to 9% in the 1980s and 2% in the early 1990s, mainly because of the development of artificial respirators. Up to 60% of botulism cases can be fatal if left untreated.
It won't happen to me
Well I've had Legionnaires' disease, so you can easily get a strange illness.
Googled: "botulism olive oil garlic death"
Randomly selected, no particular order
Botulin toxin produced by C. botulinum is often believed to be a potential bioweapon as it is so potent that it takes about 75 nanograms to kill a person (LD50 of 1 ng/kg, assuming an average person weighs ~75kg); 500 grams of it would be enough to kill half of the entire human population.
Clostridium botulinum is a soil bacterium. The spores can survive in most environments and are very hard to kill. They can survive the temperature of boiling water at sea level, thus many foods are canned with a pressurized boil that achieves an even higher temperature, sufficient to kill the spores.
Growth of the bacterium can be prevented by high acidity, high ratio of dissolved sugar, high levels of oxygen, very low levels of moisture or storage at temperatures below 38°F (type A). For example in a low acid, canned vegetable such as green beans that are not heated hot enough to kill the spores (i.e., a pressurized environment) may provide an oxygen free medium for the spores to grow and produce the toxin. On the other hand, pickles are sufficiently acidic to prevent growth; even if the spores are present, they pose no danger to the consumer. Honey, corn syrup, and other sweeteners may contain spores but the spores cannot grow in a highly concentrated sugar solution; however, when a sweetener is diluted in the low oxygen, low acid digestive system of an infant, the spores can grow and produce toxin. As soon as infants begin eating solid food, the digestive juices become too acidic for the bacterium to grow. That's probably enough to be getting on with. You found this article so you are perfectly able to do your own research. Chef 04:56, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
- A possible solution? http://www.gourmetgarlicgardens.com/pickle.htm
Botulism - applies to chillies as well!
How can botulism be prevented?
Many cases of botulism are preventable. Foodborne botulism has often been from home-canned foods with low acid content, such as asparagus, green beans, beets and corn and is caused by failure to follow proper canning methods. However, seemingly unlikely or unusual sources are found every decade, with the common problem of improper handling during manufacture, at retail, or by consumers; some examples are chopped garlic in oil, canned cheese sauce, chile peppers, tomatoes, carrot juice, and baked potatoes wrapped in foil. In Alaska, foodborne botulism is caused by fermented fish and other aquatic game foods. Persons who do home canning should follow strict hygienic procedures to reduce contamination of foods, and carefully follow instructions on safe home canning including the use of pressure canners/cookers as recommended through county extension services or from the US Department of Agriculture. Oils infused with garlic or herbs should be refrigerated. Potatoes which have been baked while wrapped in aluminum foil should be kept hot until served or refrigerated. Because the botulinum toxin is destroyed by high temperatures, persons who eat home-canned foods should consider boiling the food for 10 minutes before eating it to ensure safety. Wound botulism can be prevented by promptly seeking medical care for infected wounds and by not using injectable street drugs. Most infant botulism cases cannot be prevented because the bacteria that causes this disease is in soil and dust. The bacteria can be found inside homes on floors, carpet, and countertops even after cleaning. Honey can contain the bacteria that causes infant botulism so, children less than 12 months old should not be fed honey. Honey is safe for persons 1 year of age and older.
Thank s - I'll update the botulism article page with this - Interesting about the refrigeration - I thought I had read that it made no difference, but I must have been mistaken. As I recall it originates from the soil and thrives in an anerobic situation, so any thing from the garden, stored in oil could be a risk, though something that in naturally in the soil (such as garlic) is more risky that something that is naturally out of the soil (chillies) --Chef 16:59, 11 December 2010 (GMT)
A word of caution
Simply dumping a load of fresh chillies into a bottle of oil is not a great idea as it can result in botulism which to cut a long story short is a nasty which can in some very rare cases be fatal!
Unfortunately simply boiling the oil won’t reduce the risk. The way round this is to reduce the PH level of the chillies before putting them in the oil. This is achieved in the above recipe by first boiling the chillis for ten minutes in vinegar. In order to further reduce the risk I always use dried chillies, not fresh and makes sure I sterilize the bottle fist by boiling it in water.