Botulism is a rare but potentially deadly disease caused by bacteria that grow in food or drink. Most people who get botulism don’t ingest it intentionally simply because they failed to follow proper storage or cooking methods for their food. 

However, the possibility exists that someone might intentionally poison someone else with botulinum toxin—as seen with the case of Dr. Thallium Poisoning at an organic farm in Georgia earlier this year. So what do we know about soda and its potential role in botulism?

What is botulism?

Botulism is a rare type of food poisoning caused by a neurotoxin called botulin. Botulin is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which can be found in soil, dust, and water.

When ingested, this poison can cause paralysis in humans and animals; it works by blocking nerve signals to muscles. Patients usually recover within two weeks if treated quickly enough (within 12 hours).

The toxin is most often found in improperly canned foods but has also been found in baked potatoes wrapped in foil that has been left out for too long, as well as honey made from the contaminated honeycomb.

Can you get botulism from commercially bottled soda?

Botulism is caused by a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. 

The bacteria are found in soil, dust, and water. Botulism poisoning can occur if food is not properly refrigerated and the bacteria grow inside it, producing the toxin that causes botulism symptoms.

In rare cases, botulism poisoning can be acquired from commercially bottled soda or other non-home-bottled beverages that contain C. botulinum spores—in these cases. 

It would be due to mishandling rather than improper storage at home.

How does the risk change in home-bottled sodas?

When it comes to home-bottled sodas, the risk of botulism is higher, and that’s because you’re more likely to have bacteria in your soda than in a can or bottle from a store.

This is simple: Pop bottles are not sterile when you buy them, as they are made with natural ingredients and do not undergo the same sterilization process as canned goods (which may have been packaged days or even months after being produced). 

The risks of canned sodas are extremely low.

Botulism is a rare illness caused by a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. It can be fatal, but in the United States, it’s usually only fatal if left untreated for over three days.


With proper refrigeration, botulism is a very rare illness. If you’re concerned about the safety of canned food, consider storing it in the refrigerator instead of at room temperature or on a countertop where it can become contaminated by flies and other pests

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