A. Spoiled low-acid foods, including tomatoes, may exhibit different kinds of spoilage evidence or very little evidence. Therefore, all suspect containers of spoiled low-acid foods, including tomatoes, should be treated as having produced botulinum toxin and handled carefully in one of two ways:
•If the swollen suspect glass jars are still sealed, place them in a heavy garbage bag. Close and place the bag in a regular trash container or bury in a nearby landfill.
•If the suspect cans or glass jars are unsealed, open, or leaking, they should be detoxified before disposal.
Detoxification process: Carefully place the suspect containers and lids on their sides in an 8-quart or larger stock pot, pan, or boiling-water canner. Wash your hands thoroughly. Carefully add water to the pot. The water should completely cover the container with a minimum of a 1-inch level above the containers. Avoid splashing the water. Place a lid on the pot and heat the water to boiling. Boil 30 minutes to ensure detoxifying the food and all container components. Cool and discard the containers, their lids, and food in the trash or bury in the soil. Thoroughly scrub all counters, containers, and equipment, including can opener, clothing, and hands that may have been in contact with the food or containers. Discard any sponges or washcloths that may have been used in the cleanup. Place them in a plastic bag and discard in the trash.