One thing for certain in the world of canning is, everyone has their own way of doing things. Different canners, jars, recipes, lids and practices throughout, and definitely different opinions. Having and using different products is not a problem, but unsafe canning practices can be. In fact, they can kill, or at the very least make you very sick from Botulism.
While Botulism can be a serious issue, it is very rare that illness and/or death occurs from home food canning. According to the Center for Disease Control website https://www.cdc.gov/botulism/surveillance.html in 2017, 19 Foodborne botulism cases were reported in the United States, not of which resulted from home food canning practices. Of those 19 cases there were 15 from California and 4 from Alaska . As quoted from the CDC website “Among the 15 toxin type A foodborne botulism cases in California, 10 were from an outbreak linked to nacho cheese at a convenience store, two were from an outbreak linked to an herbal deer antler tea, one was from a suspected soup with bulging lid but was not available testing, and two were not linked to a known food source. Among the four toxin type E foodborne botulism cases in Alaska, three were from an outbreak linked to seal blubber with seal oil, and one was linked to dried herring in seal oil. The median age of patients was 42 years (range: 14–85 years); 11 were men. Three deaths were reported.”
The intent of this blog is not to diminish the severity of Botulism, rather to increase the awareness of safe canning practices and ensure home canners do not become part of the statistics. As such, we highly recommend people follow safe, approved canning practices and stay away from old world practices and recipes. We believe the best option for doing to is to follow the guidance from The National Center For Home Food Preservation (NCHFP), found at this link https://nchfp.uga.edu/ The NCHFP provides tested and proven recipes and guidelines for Canning, Freezing, Drying, Curing and Smoking, Fermenting, Pickling and Jam & Jelly making, among a host of other excellent tips and recommendations.
Botulism is real, and it’s a real problem. However, it is easily avoidable, especially when following proper canning practices, recipes and guidelines. We sincerely hope you will visit the NCHFP website and review the wealth of information provided. While you’re there, consider the So Easy to Preserve cookbook which can be purchased at this link https://setp.uga.edu/ It contains some of the best canning recipes to be found, covering a wide array of food types.
Bottom line, be safe by following approved recipes and practices. Have fun and happy canning.