An outbreak in the USA is an example of the wide range of food products that can become contaminated by Salmonella and subsequently sicken consumers. While most people associate Salmonella contamination with eggs and poultry alone, there are many types of foods that can become contaminated and foods that present the greatest risk to consumers are those that are ready-to-eat or eaten raw such as fruit and vegetables.
An outbreak of Salmonella has been discovered in The United States which has been linked to cucumbers imported to the States from Mexico.
The imported cucumbers sickened at least 81 people across 18 states, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. In April the number of people made ill was just 78 and the number of patients hospitalized as a result of their infections has risen from 14 to 16 since that time.
FoodSafetyNews.com reported this on the outbreak:
The updated number of victims, by state, is as follows: Arizona (11), California (28), Colorado (1), Idaho (2), Illinois (3), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (1), Minnesota (9), Nevada (1), New Mexico (2), North Carolina (3), Ohio (3), Oregon (2), South Dakota (2), Texas (6), Virginia (3) and Wisconsin (2).
The first outbreak victim fell ill on January 12 of this year, and the latest known illness onset was April 19. However, health officials note that illnesses with an onset date of April 7 or later may not have been reported yet.
The strain of Salmonella Saintpaul causing these illnesses has been traced back to cucumbers from Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse in Culiacán, Mexico, according to CDC.
FDA has issued an import alert regarding produce from these two companies. Fresh fruits and vegetables may not be imported from these firms until testing shows that they are clear of Salmonella.
Salmonella poisoning can be contracted in a number of ways including:
- Consuming food that has been contaminated during food processing or food handling.
- Eating food that may become contaminated by the unwashed hands of an infected food handler. A frequent cause is a food handler who does not wash his or her hands with soap after using the bathroom.
- Salmonella may also be found in the faeces of some pets, especially those with diarrhoea. You can become infected if you do not wash your hands after contact with these animals or their faeces.
- Beef, poultry, milk, and eggs are most often infected with salmonella. But vegetables may also be contaminated. Fruit and vegetables eaten raw should be washed thoroughly before consumption. Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal.
- Reptiles, baby chicks and ducklings, and small rodents such as hamsters are particularly likely to carry Salmonella. You should always wash your hands immediately after handling one of these animals, even if the animal is healthy. Adults should also be careful that children wash their hands after handling reptiles, pet turtles, baby chicks or ducklings, or small rodents.