Clostridium botulinum has been a subject of awe and alarm for about 100 years. The reason for awe, alarm, and vigilance on food sanitation is a protein-botulinum toxin — produced by the Gram-positive, spore forming, anaerobic bacteria; as far as is known, the organism without this particular protein is as benign as a bacterium can be.1–8 This article presents a critical evaluation of what is known about botulinum toxin. Certain aspects of the toxin are discussed in a wide perspective.