Can you get botulism from a chicken broth?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Can you get botulism from a chicken broth”. Moreover, we are going to discuss if you can get food poisoning from chicken broth and how to spot bad chicken broth.

Can you get botulism from a chicken broth?

The chance of you getting botulism from a chicken broth is extremely rare (1-2). The risk is relatively low if the proper food safety practices (3-4) were followed during the preparation of your chicken broth. This is the case when you get your chicken broth from the grocery store.

Commercial chicken broth contains different preservatives and follows a rigorous process of processing and sterilization that minimize the risk of microbial contaminations (5).

But we won’t negate the possibility of getting botulism from a commercial can of chicken broth chicken broth even if it is very low.

Botulism is a rare but very dangerous disease that is caused by potent neurotoxins produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum (1-2). This neurotoxin can paralyze your muscle and cause severe food poisoning even death (2).

You should pay special attention if you are preparing your own home-made chicken broth. If you improperly prepare or store your home-made broth, bacteria can grow on it and produce the botulinum neurotoxin that can seriously affect your health (2).

You should always follow the proper food safety practices to avoid any bacterial contamination (3-4).

Remember that botulism could be fatal and requires immediate medical action!

What are the symptoms of botulism and how is it treated?

You should know that the symptoms of botulism can vary depending on the severity of the infection and the starting concentration of neurotoxins that was consumed (2). 

The main symptoms of botulism include blurred or double vision, difficulty swallowing or speaking, dry mouth, muscle weakness or paralysis, abdominal cramps, constipation, nausea and vomiting (2).

Be aware that in severe cases, botulism can lead to respiratory failure, and can be life-threatening (1-2)!

The symptoms of botulism will appear within 6 to 36 hours after consuming contaminated food, however, be aware that some symptoms could take up to several days to develop (2).

If you suspect that you have consumed contaminated food and you have botulism, you must seek medical attention immediately!

Prompt treatment can save your life! You must probably receive antitoxin medication to neutralize the neurotoxin in your body. 

The antitoxin works better when received during the first hours of the infection, so be fast and seek prompt medical attention to fully recover!

How can you check whether your chicken broth is contaminated with botulism?

It is not possible to be 100% sure if your chicken broth is contaminated or not with botulism by just looking at it, smelling it, or tasting it. Remember that the botulinum neurotoxin is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, so it could still be on your food even if there are not visible signs of spoilage (1-2).

The only way to be 100% sure is by performing a test in a laboratory, but this is not practical and let´s be honest: you are not going to do that!

If your chicken broth smells rotten, putrid, or sour you should immediately throw it away as this is a clear sign that it was contaminated. In addition, be aware of other signals like dents or leakage in the can containing your chicken broth or bulging lids and bodies of your cans.

If you suspect that your chicken broth may be contaminated with botulism, it is important to discard it and not consume it. 

Remember that botulism is a serious and potentially life-threatening illness (2), so safety and prevention first! 

How can you safely store, prepare and handle chicken broth to prevent botulism?

You can follow the next tips to prevent botulism while storing, preparing, and handling chicken broth:

  • Use clean and sanitized equipment: You should always make sure that all equipment, utensils, and surfaces are clean and sanitized before preparing your home-made chicken broth (3-4). You must wash everything with soap and hot water and sanitize with chlorine bleach water suspension.
  • Cook the broth thoroughly: You must be sure that your chicken was cooked thoroughly to ensure that any potential bacteria was killed. You should cook it for a long time (several hours) and at the appropriate temperature (>75°C) (6).
  • Cool the broth quickly: The broth should be cooled quickly to prevent bacterial growth after cooking it. You should store it properly in the refrigerator (be consumed within four days) or freezer to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Reheat the broth properly: If you want to reheat your chicken broth, it should be heated to at least 165°F (74°C) to kill any potential bacteria that may have grown as recommended by the USDA (6).

Remember to use clean and sanitized containers and to label them with the date that the broth was made!

You can reduce the risk of getting botulism by following these tips. 

However, remember that the most important thing is to practice good hygiene when handling and preparing your food to avoid any cross-contamination with harmful microorganisms!


In this brief guide, we answered the question “Can you get botulism from a chicken broth” . Moreover, we discussed if you can get food poisoning from chicken broth and how to spot bad chicken broth.


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2. Ting PT, Freiman A. The story of Clostridium botulinum: from food poisoning to Botox. Clin Med (Northfield Il) [Internet]. 2004 May 5 [cited 2023 May 3];4(3):258. Available from:  

3. Dudeja P, Singh A. Safe cooking practices and food safety in home kitchen and eating establishment. Food Saf 21st Century Public Heal Perspect. 2017 Jan 1;373–85.  

4. Hurst WC, Reynolds AE, Schuler GA, Tybor PT. Preventing food poisoning and food infection [Internet]. University of Georgia; 2010 [cited 2023 May 3]. Available from:  

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