Mum says ‘I didn’t know;’ UK infant recovers from botulism

Logan Douglas was temporarily blinded and paralyzed as the botulism he contracted at 16-weeks-old ravaged his body.

Six months after his parents, Theresa Fitzpatrick and Alex Douglas, were faced with the decision of whether to turn off his life support as baffled medics feared the worst, Logan is doing great (right, photo from The Sun).

When a limp and ill Logan was first taken to physicians, he was admitted to hospital and, after a battery of tests, a Glasgow-based doctor ordered a test for infantile botulism for Logan.

Devastated Theresa has revealed she still blamed herself after feeding her baby honey.

She wasn’t aware that the food wasn’t suitable for children so young – and unwittingly placed his health in danger.

"Logan’s big sister, Taylor, loves honey on toast and one day I was spreading some honey for her and Logan was a bit grizzly. So I just dipped his dummy in the honey and he loved it. He got some every now and again. None of the baby books I had mentioned infantile botulism or said honey was dangerous for babies under a year old. I’d been at my auntie’s house with Taylor and she said to take a pot of honey she had home with me for Taylor. I wish I hadn’t now. Taylor hasn’t ever asked for honey again and it’s banned from the house now. It was just an ordinary supermarket’s own-brand honey bought off the shelf. The environmental health people tested the actual pot and it was confirmed as the source."

Kudos to Thersa, Logan’s mum, for admitting she didn’t know about the potential risks. I, and other food safety types, hear everyday, “I didn’t know” about E. coli, or Salmonella, or botulism or whatever. That’s OK. It underscored the need to be creative and compelling when talking about … anything.

Clostridium botulinum can cause sickness in very young children, and infants under the age of 1 years old are most at risk. Honey may contain Clostridium botulinum spores which can grow in the digestive tract of children less than one-year-old because their digestive system is less acidic. The bacteria produces toxin in the body and can cause severe illness. Even pasteurized honey can contain botulism spores and should be not be given to children under the age of 12 months.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time