Sunday, January 12, 2014

SALMONELLA EVERYWHERE IN OUR FOOD

The government of the United States has been keeping a special eye on contamination of the country’s food supply by the various Salmonella bacteria. It is now sending out quarterly reports on progress every year. The monitoring focus is primarily on meat and poultry. But, as The Safe Food Handbook: How to Make Smart Choices about Risky Food points out, Salmonella keep cropping up in other foods as well. Nor is it at all clear that we are winning the battle against these pesky bacteria.

Some examples of recent discoveries of such bacteria include the end-of-last year one by The Cultured Kitchen® of West Sacramento, California. It was suspected that Salmonella could be present in all flavors of their non-dairy cashew cheese product ( herb, Smoked Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Pesto or Peso Basil, White Cheddar). These non-dairy cashew cheeses were distributed in Northern California and Nevada at various natural foods stores and farmers markets in the Sacramento Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, and Reno. So much for healthy, small producer, farmers market food!

How did the Salmonella get in? The suspect was cashew nuts - imported from Southeast Asia. The special strain of Salmonella that was found only turns up in these so that was clear evidence. Yes, the products might be “local” but all the ingredients may not be.

Even more recently, Tyson Foods, Inc. had to recall some 33,840 pounds of mechanically separated chicken products because contamination by a Salmonella Heidelberg strain – one of the common ones – was found.

And back in October, Costco had to recall huge amounts of rotisserie (cooked) chicken because of Salmonella contamination.

And that’s only a few examples of Salmonella bacteria turning up in our food.

By the way, symptoms of Salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps, and (maybe bloody) diarrhea. Most people who become ill recover within a week. Some, like infants, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems, may develop complications that send them to the hospital.

Be careful what you eat, especially if you are in a high-risk group!

To your good health,

TSF

1 comment:

Jennifer Mackey said...

This is very alarming. We must really be more vigilant in regulating imported products and in preparing the food we eat. We must really pay attention in preparing food, step by step. Salmonella can usually be killed by cooking food at a specific temperature; however, there are various strains of salmonella that are resistant to heat. So it still pays to be meticulous in preparing our food so as not to risk our family’s health.


Jennifer Mackey