Monday, April 14, 2014


Salmonella bacteria are one of the best-known and most common causes of food poisoning. How serious a case of Salmonella food poisoning will be, depends largely on your age and health, as well as on which of the different Salmonella you get. If you are healthy, you may just have a few days of diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting and fever. Not that that isn’t pretty bad. But for young children, elderly people and those who have a weak immune system because of illness, Salmonella infection can be much more dangerous. It can result in hospitalization and even be fatal.

If you have read The Safe Food Handbook: How to Make Smart Choices about Risky Food, you won’t be surprised at where Salmonella can turn up. No, not just in your bagged salad greens or risky ready-to-eat foods or dairy products or peanut butter, but even in dried spices and herbs and in your pet’s food. It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it, that a bacterium could happily live in products such as dried chili peppers. But yes, it happens. Salmonella bacteria are the ultimate survivors.

A recent five-day period in the United States proves this point. Findings of Salmonella bacteria have triggered large recalls of black peppers, chili peppers, dried basil and cilantro. Swanson Health Products, Frontier Natural Products Co-op, Sprouts Farmers Market, Lisy Corporation of Miami, and Fernandez Chile Company Inc. of Colorado, have all recalled various products around the United States. Grocery chains such as Whole Foods, King Soopers, Safeway, City Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, as well as various independent grocers, have been forced to remove the recalled items from their shelves and alert their customers. And who knows how many restaurants, food preparation facilities and private homes are still using them?

But we normally use just very little of such herbs and spice in our food, right? Is that enough to make us ill? Apparently yes. There have been some confirmed cases, though not yet for the current recalls. But in the large majority of instances, Salmonella illnesses are never connected to contaminated herbs or spices. Let’s face it, they are not the obvious suspect.

To your good health,


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