How Does Canned Food Get Botulism?

Canned food is a convenient and shelf-stable way of preserving food items. It is an important part of many people’s diets, but there is a risk of contamination with a deadly bacteria, called botulism.

Botulism is caused by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and can be found in canned food if it has not been properly processed.

The spores of the bacteria can survive in the absence of oxygen, which make them particularly difficult to destroy. In order for canned food to be safely consumed, it must be heated to a high enough temperature that kills the spores. This process is known as thermal processing or thermal canning.

When canned food is improperly processed, it can create an environment that allows the spores to grow and produce toxins. These toxins are extremely dangerous and can lead to serious illness or even death if consumed. The symptoms of botulism include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and muscle weakness.

In order to prevent canned food from becoming contaminated with botulism, it must be processed correctly. This includes making sure that all jars are sealed properly before they are heated in a pressure cooker or boiling water bath for several minutes at temperatures above 240 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is also important for consumers to inspect canned goods before purchasing them and check for any signs of spoilage such as bulging lids or leaking containers. Canned food should also always be stored in cool temperatures and should not be kept for more than two years.


Botulism can be found in canned foods if they have not been properly processed. In order to prevent this deadly bacteria from contaminating canned food items, they must be sealed properly and heated to temperatures above 240 degrees Fahrenheit for several minutes before consumption. Consumers should also inspect cans before purchase and store them in cool temperatures not exceeding two years.