Bel Frantoio brand Mediterranean Olives have been recalled across the U.S. because they have the potential to be contaminated with the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
The food manufacturer Ocean State Job Lot (OSJL) has issued a voluntary recall of Bel Frantoio brand Mediterranean Olives, which are named Calcidica Sweet and Calcidica Salty. This follows an inspection undertaken by Rhode Island Department of Health. The inspection discovered that the olives were stored at room temperature instead of being kept refrigerated (this is despite the product being labelled as ‘Keep Refrigerated’). The risk is that the room temperature storage could allow for the potential growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria.
According to WPRI radio, the olives are sold in 34-ounce plastic containers at OSJL locations in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.
The bacterium Clostridium botulinum presents a serious infection risk. The bacterium produces botulinum toxins, which attack the nervous system when ingested leading to a rare but sometimes fatal paralytic illness. Initial symptoms include double vision, drooping of both eyelids, loss of facial expression and swallowing problems. The bacterium grows at warm temperatures but is inhibited from growing under cool conditions, hence the concern about the olives not being refrigerated.
The recall of the olives is precautionary for no illnesses have been associated with consumption of the recalled olives at the time of writing.