Nacho Cheese Lands Woman in Hospital - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

A woman from Walnut Grove, California, spent nearly a month in intensive care after eating gas station (read: top-quality) nacho cheese.

The woman, Lavinia Kelly, hit up the gas station’s nacho cheese pump to add a little adventure to her run-of-the-mill bag of Doritos in late April. She ate the chips and cheese, went home, and had a normal life.

But the next day, things weren’t going so well. She went to the emergency room near her home to be treated for double vision, but they sent her home. Just a few hours later, she began having trouble breathing and started vomiting.

The cause?

Botulism.

It’s a rare, paralytic illness that’s often the result of food poisoning. It’s caused by a nerve toxin that bacteria produce, and it usually comes from eating improperly preserved or improperly canned foods.

The symptoms of botulism include:

  • Drooping eyelids
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle weakness

It’s a medical emergency, and it can be fatal.

Kelly isn’t the only one who’s been hospitalized for the same problem, either. Officials are investigating four other cases that may have come from the same gas station, as well. State officials stopped the gas station from selling food on May 5, two weeks after Kelly was hospitalized.

As for Kelly, her family is hopeful she’ll recover.

“We just don’t know how long or how much effort and, and we’ve got somebody here every single morning, every single day,” said Kelly’s sister, Theresa. The family filed a lawsuit against the gas station alleging negligence, product liability, and breach of implied warranty.

What Do You Think?

Do you trust gas station food? Have you ever known anyone who contracted botulism through food? I’d love to hear whether you think the gas station should be held accountable or if you believe this is something that could’ve happened at any gas station—and to anyone. Share your thoughts on my Facebook page or on Twitter!

Carlos Gamino