Originally Posted by Manton
man I must be lucky because I eat tons of garlic and have never gotten the botch
It has to be an ideal situation - where air is cut off and aerobic bacteria do not compete with the anaerobic bacteria so the botulism can then divide. Some bacteria are "obligate anaerobes", which means they must
have an oxygen-free environment to survive, but I'm not sure if botulism is one of those.
The botulism bacteria and/or spores (all you need are spores to start the colonization) are on and within the garlic, but the bacteria themselves are not in any sufficient quantity to be dangerous. Furthermore, your highly acidic stomach will kill any bacteria but not denature the toxin if it is already produced.