As the harvesting season approaches, the South Central Public Health District is warning canners to be responsible in their preservation methods to avoid illnesses caused by poor canning methods.

     “Even recipes and methods that have been used for years should be checked to make sure they meet FDA guidelines,” said South Central Public Health District Environmental Health Specialist Jarryd Samples in a news release.

     The Food and Drug Administration recommends choosing a pressure cooker designed specifically for canning, following the latest canning instructions and up-to-date recipes and always making sure there is at least one-quarter inch of headspace for jams and jellies and more for fruits and pickles. In addition, if the container is leaking, or is discolored or molding, throw it away.

     A common form of food poisoning called botulism can grow in canned foods and cause paralysis or even death in some cases. If a family member shows signs of botulism (slurred speech, double vision, difficulty swallowing, drooping eyelids), see a doctor immediately or go to the emergency room.

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