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June 23, 1923


JAMA. 1923;80(25):1852-1853. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02640520034013

Outbreaks of food poisoning led the canning industry of this country in 1919 to propose and finance a thorough investigation of botulism. Original plans for the study covered only the state of California, but subsequent changes included the entire United States. In the report of the commission,1 recently issued,2 it is pointed out that ninety-one outbreaks of botulism have occurred in this country and Canada since 1899, and that 345 persons have been affected, 213 of whom died. Plant foods were proved or assigned as the cause in sixty-three of these outbreaks, and animal food products in nineteen. Home canned string beans head the unfortunate list with seventeen outbreaks to their credit; home canned corn is second with nine; commercially pickled and bottled ripe olives are third with seven; then come commercially packed spinach six, home canned asparagus five, commercially canned string beans three, and so on to