I've been reading about oil infused with raw veg and herbs and how it can give you botulism, and now I'm worried that when I use oil when preparing any vegetables I will contaminate my oil with bacteria, for example if I chop up some potatoes and then use the oil bottle to pour it over them without washing my hands. Am I crazy or not? Does there need to be a substantial amount of raw veg to cause problems or could any particles with the bacteria on it get in there hurt someone? As the bacteria is everywhere it seems like it could easily make its way in there and the oil is the perfect environment for it to survive.

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    Can you be more clear about the oil that you are using? Has it already been infused with herbs and veg...before you pour it over your potatoes? If so, how was that oil prepared, how long was it stored, and where was it stored. See also my answer to this question for further information: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/89891/…
    – moscafj
    Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


The bottom line: yes, you are crazy.

Botulism arises when you have a substance which carries clostridium botulinum and keep it for a while (timescales of days rather than hours or minutes) in an anaerobic environment (like a bottle of oil).

The bacteria cannot burrow into the bottle from the outside, nor can it swim against gravity from your vegetables into the oil. The problem arises only if you end up with some of the vegetable matter inside the bottle.

If you are still concerned about this, you can decant some oil into a measuring cup and pour from there.

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