The inmate who cooked up some botulism-tainted jailhouse wine at the Utah State Prison in 2011 had brewed homemade alcohol before. But he made one — nearly fatal — mistake in October 2011.
He used a potato.
According to a study about the botulism outbreak published this week in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, the inmate's experimentation in putting an old potato among other ingredients in the plastic bag hidden in his cell led to the sickening of 12 inmates at the prison. The potato allowed botulism to develop, according to the article.
The 2011 incident was highlighted in the peer-reviewed journal for the American College of Emergency Physicians in an article entitled, "Emergency Department Identification and Critical Care Management of a Utah Prison Botulism Outbreak."