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Recall expanded in botulism scare

WASHINGTON -- A Georgia meat processor has expanded its recall of canned meat products that may be connected to a botulism outbreak.

Castleberry's Food Co., of Augusta, on Saturday recalled more than 80 types of canned chili, beef stew, corned beef hash, and other meat products, in addition to the 10 brands it recalled Thursday.

Cans of chili sauce made at Castleberry's plant were found in the homes of an Indiana couple and two children in Texas who had been hospitalized with botulism. All four are expected to survive.

Botulism is a muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a toxin made by a bacterium, Clostridium botulinum. Such bacteria are commonly found in soil.

The Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service said on Thursday that an equipment malfunction may have been responsible for the contamination.

On Saturday, the inspection service said the malfunctions at the Augusta processing plant may have existed longer than initially estimated.

Castleberry's, which is owned by Bumble Bee Seafoods LLC and based in San Diego, voluntarily expanded the recall.

Castleberry's senior vice president, Steve Mavity, said:

"We believe we have isolated the issue to a situation of under-processing on one line of our production facility. As an extra precaution to the recall we announced on Wednesday, we have shut down this line altogether and are recalling all products produced on it."

Brand names of the recalled products include:

Austex, Best Yet, Big Y, Black Rock, Bloom, Bryan, Bunker Hill, Castleberry's, Cattle Drive, Firefighters, Food Club, Food Lion, and Goldstar.

Also, Great Value, Kroger, Lowes, Meijer, Morton House, Paramount, Piggly Wiggly, Prudence, Southern Home, Steak N Shake, Thrifty Maid, Triple Bar, and Value Time.

The recall also includes four varieties of Natural Balance dog food.

Consumers with questions about the recall should contact Castleberry's at 1-888-203-8446.