Prison Wine Causes Botulism Outbreak

Eight Utah prison inmates were hospitalized for botulism caused by a bad batch of jailhouse wine. ABC News reports that the patients entered the emergency room with symptoms such as muscle weakness, double vision and slurred speech. Though these sound curiously similar to common marks of inebriation, the inmates were actually suffering from poisoning by Clostridium botulinum, a bacteria that releases a nerve toxin that binds to nerve receptors so they can no longer react. The winemaking prisoner claims to have successfully fermented the concoction of “juice mix, fresh and canned fruit in a bag along with water that he then hid in his mattress for a week” at least 20 times before making the deadly last batch. The experiment took a turn for the toxic when he decided to throw a baked potato skin (famous vessel of foodborne illness) into the mix. Sometimes it’s better to stick to the recipe. [ABC News]