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Be Aware of the Risks of Botulism With Homemade Garlic-Infused Oil
Posted by Olivia on Wed, May 09, 2012
Making your own olive oil infusions at home is one of the joys of experimenting with great ingredients and tasting the delicious results. But when it comes to making garlic oil, many people aren’t aware that there are some very real health dangers that can arise. Botulism is potentially fatal food poisoning, and it can come about when making garlic-infused oil at home.
The dangers of botulism
The bacteria spores that cause botulism are called Clostridium botulinum, and they can spread in certain foods when not exposed to oxygen—as is the case when infusing garlic in oil.
When homemade garlic-infused oil is left unrefrigerated or kept for too long, the chance of this bacteria growing is very real. There have been a number of documented cases of people getting sick from their homemade garlic oils.
The symptoms of botulism can include:
- Blurred or double vision;
- Difficulty in swallowing, breathing and speaking;
- Paralysis that gets worse with time.
What home cooks should be aware of is that there are no warning signs if your garlic oil has been growing Clostridium botulinum; it will smell, look, and taste the same as usual. So this is one case where you don’t want to rely on your senses to tell you if the oil has “gone bad!”
How to be safe in the kitchen
The FDA recommends that if you want to make your own infused garlic oil, you should prepare it fresh and use it right away. If you are saving any leftovers, you must refrigerate it right away and use within a week.
And if you’re buying a commercially prepared infused garlic oil, check to make sure the product has some sort of preservative or acid inside it, which is there to preserve the garlic and protect it from growing harmful bacteria.
Buy products you trust
In our own blend of Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Dipping Oil, we take extra steps to ensure the safety of our oil for your health. So there’s no need to worry about refrigerating our garlic oil blend—it’s already preserved as it is. For best flavor, we recommend that you use this oil within one year (if you don’t use it all up by that time!).
Whether you try our very own Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Dipping Oil or make your own at home, always be safe and keep your health in mind. And, of course, have fun experimenting in the kitchen!
Kendall, P. and Rausch, J. (December 2006). Flavored vinegars and oils. Colorado State University Extension. Retrieved from http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09340.html
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