Backyard gardens are ready for harvest and canning season is in full swing in Oregon. But science is key to preventing food poisoning.

Jared Hibbard-Swanson, OSU-Extension Service Food Security and Program Manager, says not following the science could lead to botulism. "I think people have heard the word botulism, but they maybe associate it with the 19th century or the early 20th century, and they don’t realize that it is an organism that is alive and well in our environment."

There was an incident earlier this month in California.

There was a family event where someone served improperly canned foods, and eight people were actually hospitalized when they came down with symptoms of botulism poisoning. So, it’s very much alive in the environment today. It’s a real risk.

But help is available. The OSU-Extension Food Safety

Says Hibbard-Swanson, "The general rule of thumb is ‘when in doubt, throw it out.’"

More information can be found on the OSU Extension website.

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