What is Salmonella or Salmonellosis?

January 13th, 2009

It’s not the first time we’ve seen a Salmonella outbreak in North America and it won’t be the last. So just what is Salmonella and what if anything should consumers do to protect themselves?

It’s not the first time we’ve seen a Salmonella outbreak in North America and it won’t be the last. So just what is Salmonella and what if anything should consumers do to protect themselves?

There are about 2000 types of salmonella and about 40,000 cases are reported each year. Salmonella Typhimurium is the most common strain. The resulting illness may begin as little as six to as many as forty eight hours after ingestion of contaminated water or food with symptoms such as nausea and vomiting which is commonly followed by diarrhea. There are examples of the illness resulting in death, but these cases are normally restricted to the very young or old or people with other underlying medical conditions.

This author discussed the 2008 United States salmonellosis outbreak extensively which began during the spring of 2008 when hundreds of people throughout the U.S. became ill after consuming contaminated food which was believed to have come from fresh Jalapeno or Serrano peppers from Mexico and raw tomatoes.

There is no vaccine to prevent salmonellosis, but you can minimize your chances of contracting it by following these steps.

1. Thoroughly cook foods to destroy the bacteria.
2. Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.
3. Wash your hands before handling any food.
4. If you are diagnosed with salmonellosis, be sure that you or your doctor informs. the local public health officials.
5. Separate your meats produce and dry groceries while shopping and when storing.
6. Do not keep groceries in your car while you run other errands. Take them home and refrigerate them.
7. When defrosting frozen foods, follow directions completely.
8. Avoid raw or unpasteurized milk and other dairy products.

As I have discussed previously, more work is needed in developing databases of manufacturers, suppliers, brokers, growers and products that can be searched against a variety of entities or against a variety of attributes in order to trace goods to their original source of supply quickly when outbreaks of salmonella and other food borne illnesses occur.

The SafeSourcing supplier database with over 300,000 suppliers provides many of these attributes.

As always, we look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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