Exploding sauerkraut brings in Hazmat team
Published Saturday, September 11, 2010 1:35PM PDT
Students were quarantined and a hazardous materials team had to be brought in after an exploding can of sauerkraut caused a botulism scare at a high school in Prince George, B.C.
Twenty-four students and four staff members at Kelly Road Secondary School were put into quarantine Friday afternoon after a can of the preserved cabbage exploded in a food sciences class.
Teachers didn't know what was inside the can when it blew up, and called the local fire department and police to prevent an outbreak of botulism, a potentially fatal disease caused by bacteria sometimes found in canned food.
Investigators were soon able to identify the substance as the popular German sausage topping, which had been left to ferment for years.
Students were sent home early from school once the scare had passed.
Symptoms of botulism can include double vision, difficulty speaking and swallowing, dry mouth and fatigue. Nerve damage caused by the disease can result in acute paralysis in the face, chest, throat or extremities, and respiratory failure can lead to death.