The recalled mushrooms can be identified by the batch code number 20080428 854 M 3502/01009. The cans carry a Best Before date of 28 April 2011.
While most individuals consider canned foods to be "sterile," these items may, on occasion, contain spores of very heat-resistant bacteria. The contents can also become contaminated after heat-treatment if the seams leak during immersion in cooling water, or if the seams or body of the can are damaged during shipping or handling.
Anaerobic spore-formers are bacteria that may survive the typical heat-treatment to which canned foods must be subjected during manufacture. In this instance, the bacteria survived, multiplied, and produced gas while feeding on the mushrooms. Enough gas was produced to cause the cans to swell or "blow."
While some anaerobic spore-formers are harmless, others – notably, Clostridium botulinum – may cause life-threatening illness. The toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum are destroyed by boiling for 10 minutes. But milder cooking may allow some or all of the toxin to remain active.
The Food Standards Agency has not said that Clostridium botulinum is present in the canned mushrooms, but there is no point in taking an unnecessary risk. Under no circumstances should these canned mushrooms be eaten. Consumers are advised to return the recalled mushrooms to the store for a full refund.
For more information, Prime Brand invites its customers to call the company, toll free, at 0808 1683044.