Nacho Cheese Botulism: Valley Oak Food And Fuel Gas Station Tied To Hospitalizations And Potentially One Death

Kateryna KonShutterstock

A botulism outbreak in California has caused 10 people to be hospitalized and may have caused its first death. According to Mercury News, the botulism outbreak has been traced to some nacho cheese that was sold at the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove, California.

Martin Galindo, 37-years-old from San Francisco, California may be the lone death in this rare botulism outbreak. According to Galindo’s family, Galindo was confirmed to have purchased nacho cheese from the gas station in question. Galindo died on Thursday while hospitalized at a San Francisco hospital. According to the family, Galindo fell into a coma and was declared brain dead.

California’s Department of Health has not officially linked Galindo’s death to the other botulism cases in the region.

Earlier this week, an article published by the Inquisitr reported on a woman who purchased nacho cheese at the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station and poured it on her Doritos. Lavinia Kelly was soon admitted to a nearby hospital where she was admitted to the ICU due to being unable to breathe on her own. Kelly’s family has filed a lawsuit and is being represented by attorney Bruce Clark. Clark commented on his client’s condition.


“The cruel thing about the toxin is it induces a slow, creeping paralysis starting at the head and moving down and includes the respiratory muscles. They slowly lose the ability to breathe. If you can get on mechanical ventilation, your chances of survival are good. All will have some residual neurological damage.”

Lavinia’s boyfriend, Ricky Torres commented on his girlfriend’s condition.

“We’re just trying to figure out what happened. Now I spend most of time at the hospital, I’m just trying to get answers. … She’s been doing good, and we just don’t understand why this happened over a bag of chips and nacho cheese. Really? How does that happen? (The gas station) should have been more aware. They’re handling that stuff every day. I know they probably didn’t make the cheese per se, but they handle that stuff in the store.”

Due to botulism in the nacho cheese, Valley Oak Food and Fuel has been barred from selling food since May 5. Based on the people hospitalized, the timeline for when botulism was present in the nacho cheese at the gas station was from April 23 to May 5. Health officials are telling people to seek medical attention if they have symptoms of botulism and consumed nacho cheese from Valley Oak Food and Fuel during the dates listed.

What Is Botulism?

According to the CDC, botulism is a rare form of food poisoning that causes paralysis due to the nerve toxin created by the bacteria. There are five different types of botulism.

  • Foodborne Botulism – Occurs when the botulism bacteria is present in improperly handled foods. It most commonly is found in food that is not properly canned, preserved, or fermented.
  • Wound Botulism – Happens if the botulism bacteria gets into an open wound and develops into a toxin. People who use needles are more likely to get this type of botulism.
  • Infant Botulism – This type happens when botulism bacteria gets into the intestines of a baby.
  • Adult Intestinal Toxemia – This is similar to infant botulism where the bacteria and its toxin get into the intestinal tract of an adult.
  • Iatrogenic Botulism – This form is seen in patients who receive botox treatment and find that they are injected with too much of the toxin.

Symptoms Of Botulism

  • Double Vision
  • Blurred Vision
  • Droopy Eyelids
  • Slurring of Speech
  • Trouble Swallowing
  • Dry Mouth
  • Muscle Weakness

Botulism acquired from eating tainted food can cause people to exhibit symptoms as early as six hours after eating the contaminated food. At its longest, symptoms of botulism may not become apparent for as long as 10 days after eating food that has the toxin present. On average, symptoms will be noticed between 18 and 36 hours after consuming food with the botulism toxin.

[Featured Image By Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock]