A married couple were left paralysed and spent five months in intensive care after eating green beans from a can.
The husband and wife, from Germany, caught botulism - one of the most powerful toxins known to science - from the 'poisoned beans'.
However, their son escaped his parents' horrific ordeal after he refused to eat the green beans because they smelt 'off'.
Doctors near Leipzig - 118 miles (160km) south of Berlin - went public with the case to raise awareness of the rare toxin.
The tale was reported in the Journal of Medical Case Reports. It revealed just 10 cases of botulism are recorded in Germany each year.
The same lethal neurotoxin is used in cosmetic Botox injections - but in much smaller doses to paralyse muscles in the face.
The 47-year-old woman suffered dizziness, double vision, drooping eyelids and struggled to speak when she went to hospital.
CT and MRI scans found nothing and in the meantime the anonymous woman's neurological symptoms worsened.
She was no longer able to open her eyes and she was paralysed from the neck down.
Doctors at Universitätsklinikum Halle hooked her up to a life-support machine after her lungs began to fail.
Her 51-year-old husband, whose name is also unknown, presented to the same hospital with similar symptoms a day later.
However, he was able to walk normally because he had consumed a 'smaller amount' of the home-canned green beans.
Botulism was suspected when their unidentified son remembered his parents had eaten home-canned beans two days before.
Writing in the journal, doctors said: 'The son was present at dinner but refused to eat the beans because of an odd odour.'
Blood tests for the woman revealed the presence of botulinum toxin - which struck 113 people in Europe between 2008 and 2012. Tests were inconclusive for the man.
Doctors did not administer an antitoxin because more than 72 hours had passed since the ingestion of the 'probably poisoned beans'.
German health guidelines state patients battling botulism should only be given it in the first 24 hours after the ingestion of toxin.
Within three days the man went onto develop quadriparesis - muscle weakness in all four limbs - within three days. He was placed on mechanical ventilation.
His wife was weaned from life-saving mechanical ventilation after five-and-a-half months. Doctors discharged her after 11 months.
However, her husband was able to breathe on his own a month sooner - and was allowed to return home after just eight months.
Both of their symptoms completely disappeared - but she remained weak and suffered from poor mental health.