'Don't even think about opening that dented can. You'll get botulism!' We all hear our mothers' warnings every time we dig through the back of the pantry, but what is botulism, really? And does it actually pose a threat? Though not nearly as common as salmonella, e coli or norovirus—there are only about 145 cases per year, according to the CDC—botulism is a formidable pathogen. Unlike most food-borne illnesses, which cause mostly gastrointestinal issues, botulism is a nerve toxin, causing vision and speech problems, as well as muscle weakness. And as it turns mom is always right—it lurks in dented cans. So toss 'em! Have you ever had to deal with food spoilage? What happened? Tell us your story in the comments below.