Fresh tofu linked to botulism in Queens
Posted: March 31st, 2012 - 12:43am by Doug Powell
The New York City Health Department is investigating one confirmed and one suspect case of botulism amongst Chinese-speaking Queens residents who had recently purchased unrefrigerated fresh bulk tofu from the same store in Flushing.
This kind of tofu, commonly sold in an open, water-filled bin, is highly suspected to be the source of these cases; however it has not yet been confirmed.
WABC reports the tofu was not made at this store, and its source is still under investigation.
As the investigation continues, the Health Department is advising all individuals to discard all fresh bulk tofu purchased from any New York City store that has been kept at room temperature at the time of purchase.
The Health Department is also warning consumers to throw away tofu that has not been stored in a refrigerator at home.
Cooking this type of tofu is not a definite safeguard against botulism; the organism's spores can still remain in the tofu and, if the tofu is improperly handled, the spores can produce a toxin that causes illness.
New York City has seen only one other case of foodborne botulism in the past 15 years.