Clostridium botulinum spores are most
commonly found in oxygen-poor environments with low acidity. As a
result, they can be found in soil and marine environments all
throughout the world. Because of this, C. botulinum may
also be found
in any type of food which has contact with the soil; including
vegetables, fruits, and sometimes even meats.
Another common habitat for Clostridium botulinum
is in improperly preserved foods. This is usually a result of home
canning, curing, or fermentation. If food is preserved wrong, there is
a possibility that the regular spoilage bacteria will be destroyed,
resulting in a perfectly uncompetitive environment for C. botulinum
to grow and thrive.
Map created with information found in Louis Smith's book,
Countries in black have recorded incidences of outbreaks of C.
botulinum. But don't be fooled -- strains can exist just about
anywhere in the world, and not everything is recorded.
The reason why C. botulinum can live in so many places is because
of all the changes it has gone through -- check them out on the