Have you noticed that over the past few years, it seems that we are hearing about some kind of food-related illness and product recalls. The common culprits are either http://roundersonthestrip.com/ E. coli, listeria and Salmonella. Sometimes the problems occur during some kind of lack of sanitary control during the processing of foods and sometimes it’s related to the poor personal hygiene of workers in the field, a store and even in the processing plant.
Many of the illnesses associated with fresh produce, like lettuce, are due to the migrant farm workers and their personal hygiene, including going to the bathroom in the very fields where the produce is grown and harvested. Most of these type of cases usually involve E. coli, whereas many of the cases that are factory related involve a different pathogen – Salmonella, as in one of the more recent product recalls as reported:
“An outbreak of salmonella that’s sickened 93 people across nine U.S. states is linked to pre-cut melons from Indianapolis-based produce company Caito Foods, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late Friday.”
“The pre-cut melon products have been recalled from Whole Foods, Kroger and other retailers across the nine states reporting infections. Caito Foods voluntarily recalled the fresh cut cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon products on Friday, citing the health risk concern…”
“So far 23 people have been hospitalized, while no deaths have been reported. The states affected are Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin, the CDC said.”
So, what exactly is Salmonella and how does it make people sick?
According the CDC, there are around 1.2 million cases of Salmonella caused illnesses here in the US, every month. Of those, about 23,000 people end up hospitalized and around 450 people die from the illness. The CDC also reports that of the 1.2 million cases of Salmonella, about 1 million of them care caused by food contamination.
Salmonella is a group of bacteria with about 2,300 different types. Of all of those, Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella typhimurium are responsible for about half of all Salmonella illnesses. According to one source:
“Contamination typically happens after infected feces comes into contact with animals, crops or water and people then consume or touch those items and don’t wash their hands.”
“Humans and animals typically have some Salmonella bacteria in their stomach and intestines, but stomach acid and intestinal bacteria generally kill the Salmonella before it has the opportunity to invade cells and replicate. Or, the Salmonella simply exit the digestive tract before it causes problems…”
However, it is not only found in crops, but is also present in raw meat, raw poultry, raw seafood, raw eggs, and even in some nuts, spices and supplements.
This is one of the main reasons why many health experts recommend you always wash your vegetables and fruit before eating and to make sure you cook your meat, poultry, seafood and eggs until well heated and done. This is one reason, along with avoiding nasty tiny parasites, that I never eat any kind of meat, poultry or seafood that has not been fully cooked – in other words, no pink in my meat and I avoid sashimi dishes and for good health reason, recommend you do also.