Loyd Grossman 'devasted' at botulism poisoning cases


TV presenter Loyd Grossman was today said to be "devastated" after two children from the same family were treated in hospital for botulism poisoning from one of his sauces, his agent said.

The comments came as health officials in central Scotland confirmed that it was treating two members of the same family after they ate some of the LoydGrossman branded korma sauce made by Premier Foods.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advised the public not to consume jars from a batch of the sauce, which it has recalled from shop shelves.

The recalled 350g jars have a best-before date of February 2013 and bear the batch code 1218R 07:21.

The FSA said only one jar from the batch was known to have been contaminated with the bacteria that causes botulism.

Peter Schnabl, Mr Grossman's agent, said: "We just can't explain how this could have happened because there are security guards in the manufacturing process plus also the botulism should have been killed by the acidity of the sauce itself.

"It should have been killed in the cooking process, so we can't really explain it at this moment.

"People are looking into it. The FSA in Scotland are looking into into it in conjunction with Premier (Foods, the manufacturer)."

Speaking about Mr Grossman's reaction, he said: "Obviously Lloyd is quite devastated about it, as anybody would be.

"We are all furiously trying to get to the bottom of it."

A spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley confirmed that it was treating two patients for botulism poisoning who were taken to hospital on Wednesday.

She said: "The condition of both patients is stable and improving."

A spokeswoman for Premier Foods said: "The safety of consumers is of paramount importance to us. At this stage, we understand that the incident relates to a single jar of korma sauce.

"There is no evidence of any broader contamination, no further reports of illness have been notified to the authorities and we have had no consumer complaints of illness related to this product.

"We are working urgently with the authorities to investigate the cause of this incident, including how the jar may have been transported and stored after leaving the factory. While these investigations are under way, we have initiated a precautionary recall of the specific batch code in the interests of the safety of our consumers."

In a separate statement the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said preliminary tests identified the toxin that causes botulism from the used jar.

It has notified health professionals across the UK of the situation and has advised them to look out for people of all ages with possible symptoms.

Botulism is caused by a toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum, which attacks the nervous system.

An antitoxin has been given to both children.

The infection is not passed from person to person and symptoms usually occur between 12 and 36 hours after eating contaminated food, although symptoms can also appear in as little as six hours.

The HPA said it is working with Scottish authorities and the Food Standards Agency on the investigation.

Dr Kathie Grant, a botulinum toxin expert at the HPA, said: "Cases of botulism are thankfully very rare in the UK although it can be a very serious infection in those that are affected.

"We urge the public to take heed of this message and ensure that they immediately dispose of this product and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of botulism, which include blurred vision, difficulty swallowing, headaches and muscle weakness."