by Mollie

This is my first time on this site and I love it! Thank you so much.

I couldn't find an answer to a question I have. About 4 years ago I bought a 25 lb bag of brown sugar and vacuum sealed it, then put it in plastic buckets. I was just reading about moisture content and botulism, and that it shouldn't be dry packed in # 10 cans. Do you think the brown sugar could be susceptible to botulism by the vacuum sealing? I also have done this with powdered milk and regular oatmeal. Are they safe?

The reason I vacuum packed these items was to make it easier to store and use.

Thank you so much for your help. I am going to tell many of your website.


Wow, Mollie, you stumped me on this one. So I started researching and so far I haven't found anything about botulism in brown sugar. A sign of botulism in canned goods is a bulging can. If you ever have a bulging can, don't even open it - just throw it out.

As for the powdered milk and oatmeal, did you use oxygen absorbers as well as desiccant moisture absorbers? Or maybe you used diatomaceous earth? When you vacuum pack dry foods, you probably don't need oxygen absorbers, although it can't hurt. But you definitely should use moisture absorbers.

I would guess that the powdered milk and oatmeal are just fine. Just pay attention to the smell, look, or texture when you open them. If anything seems "off", don't eat it.

Thank you for asking an important question. I'm sure that all can benefit from it.

I'm glad you love my site and I hope it helps you with your food storage. Please feel free to ask any questions you might have - anytime.

If anyone else can add knowledge to this subject, it would be much appreciated.

Comments for Botulism

Click here to add your own comments

brown sugar
by: Anonymous

Just FYI botulism can't grow in high sugar environments, so you can't get botulism in brown sugar.

That is correct. Low water activity inhibits the growth of C. botulinum which is why dehydrated foods and foods which are high in salt and/or sugar do not support the growth of the bacterium. Food preservatives such as nitrites, sorbic acid, phenolic antioxidants, polyphosphates, and ascorbates as well as lactic acid bacteria inhibit the growth of C. botulinum.

Infant botulism has been linked to the ingestion of C. botulinum spores in honey, corn syrup, and other foods. The C. botulinum spores germinate, colonize and produce toxin in the intestinal tract of infants (intestinal toxemia botulism). Infants less than 1-year-old lack the proteins in their intestines needed to destroy either the vegetative or spore form of C. botulinum.

Thank you for clarifying.

Same for white sugar?
by: Anonymous

Does this also include white sugar? I had bought some bags & put them into basement - the humidity went high enough that they become 'lumps' in bags, but I bought a de-humidifier for the basement & next thing you know most of the lumps had turned back to loose. I had got them on a heck of a sale - thought I'd use them for canning in the fall but didn't get it done. So I dumped them into 1gallon glass jars & put a baggie under lid before screwing it on. Will this sugar be safe to use? Thanks!!!


Yes, the sugar will be fine to use - lumpy or not.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Food Storage Questions.

Top of Pagetop of page