Public Health Notice: Outbreak of suspected botulism in Bordeaux, France linked to sardines

October 4, 2023 – Final update

This notice has been updated to reflect that the outbreak appears to be over.

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Why you should take note

Public health authorities in France have investigated 15 cases of botulism. Three of these cases are residents of Canada. One case, not from Canada, has died.

Before showing symptoms, all individuals ate at the same restaurant, called Tchin Tchin Wine Bar in Bordeaux, France. The restaurant is located close to the Rugby World Cup 2023 fan zone and is an area popular with tourists. 

Sardines prepared by and served at the restaurant were identified as  the source of illness. Exposures occurred from September 4 to 10, 2023. On September 14, 2023, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) issued a public health notice to advise recent travellers of Bordeaux, France and patrons of Tchin Tchin Wine Bar to self-monitor and seek immediate medical care if symptoms of botulism appear. Since then, no new cases in Canada have been identified and the timeframe during which additional cases might occur has ended.  

What is botulism

Botulism is a rare but serious disease. It is caused by a toxin produced by a specific type of bacteria. It is spread primarily by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated with the toxin. Food and beverages become contaminated when spores of the bacteria that cause botulism get into these products where they grow and produce toxins.


In most cases of botulism, symptom onset is rapid; however, it can take up to 8 days after exposure to a contaminated food or beverage for symptoms to start. Individuals can quickly become seriously ill, requiring hospitalization. Individuals who require hospitalization can recover, but severe outcomes, including death, are possible.

Symptoms of foodborne botulism include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry mouth
  • Respiratory failure
  • Paralysis

What you should do to protect your health

You can help prevent botulism by following safe food handling practices, such as:

  • refrigerating leftovers promptly
  • using foods that are stored in oil within 10 days of opening
  • keeping foods stored in oil, like vegetables and herbs, in the fridge
  • making sure products marked ‘keep refrigerated’ are kept in the fridge
  • learning about home canning safety if you prepare your own canned goods
  • keeping baked potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil hot until served, or refrigerated
  • never eat food from cans that are dented, bulging or leaking. This could mean the contents are contaminated and may not be safe to eat.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians. PHAC leads the prevention and control of infectious diseases in Canada and is in regular contact with its federal, provincial, territorial and international partners, such as Santé Publique France, to monitor and address the outbreak.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada
Media Relations

Public Inquiries

Call toll-free: 1-866-225-0709

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