Duck products recalled in France - but risk of botulism now ruled out

The recall is still needed due to labelling or packaging anomalies and possible manufacturing defects, says the agriculture ministry

A view of a confit duck leg served with traditional beans and bacon
Confit de canard is a popular dish in France, and 14 products had been recalled. The risk of botulism has now been ruled out but the recall is still happening
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Around a dozen duck-based food products that were recalled in France due to fears of a risk of the toxin botulism have now been confirmed as safe and the risk of botulism ruled out.

The products - including terrine, confit, foie gras, and rillettes - were sold under the brand La ferme au délice royal, and had been listed on the government’s official recall website Rappel Conso. They were mainly sold at Intermarché stores and were subject to a recall on February 13.

However, the Agriculture Ministry has now said that the products have been checked and do not present a risk of botulism.

In a statement, the ministry confirmed: “After verification, no presence of the Clostridium botulinum bacterium or its toxins was found in the recalled products". This means that "this botulism risk is not proven", it said.

Recall still going ahead

The duck products are still being recalled, however, due to labelling anomalies and manufacturing defects, leaks or packaging anomalies, the statement said. The products are all in glass jars, and may have been "manufactured and/or stored under conditions that do not provide satisfactory health guarantees", it added.

The batches concerned have production/use-by dates between January 1, 2021 and 31 December 31, 2026.

Anyone who has these products at home is advised not to consume them, and to dispose of them safely.

Last September, one person died and several were hospitalised after eating sardines in jars at a Bordeaux restaurant.

What is botulism?

Clostridium botulinum bacterium is a neurotoxin that can cause botulism, a life-threatening condition that attacks the nervous system (nerves, brain and spinal cord) and can cause paralysis.

It initially causes severe digestive symptoms, and without treatment it can cause drooping eyelids, blurred vision, muscle weakness, and breathing difficulties. Botulism needs urgent medical care in a hospital as early as possible.

To avoid the toxin, people are advised to never eat from bulging or damaged cans, to avoid eating foul-smelling preserved foods, food stored at the incorrect temperature or that is out-of-date. People who can their own food are at slightly greater risk if they do not follow proper procedures.

Babies under the age of one should also not eat honey as it is known to contain spores that can cause botulism. Children and adults older than this are not at risk from honey as the body develops resistance against them by that age.

Read also: Why these French cheeses are not recommended to young children

Full recall details

The full details of the duck products from La ferme au délice royal are (click on the links for more information on the Rappel Conso website, including photos of the products):

The website advises that anyone with the products at home should not consume or use the product, and if they wish, to contact customer services at the point of sale.

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