Spring is here, and for many people in Illinois and across the United States, that means it is time to venture outdoors again after a long winter in hibernation. As flowers bloom and trees regrow their leaves, enjoying a picnic in a park can be a relaxing way to welcome warm spring weather.
In a recent blog post, we talked about the recent multi-state Salmonella outbreak that was linked to raw bean sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurants in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Currently, the outbreak is being investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association illustrated how restaurant review website Yelp helped the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene uncover 10 food poisoning outbreaks between 2012 and 2017.
In December of 2017, French baby formula manufacturer Lactalis and the French government worked in tandem to oversee a global recall of various products sold in countries around the world. The products, which number in the millions of units sold, could potentially be contaminated with salmonella. The products were recalled across continents after 26 infants reportedly fell sick since December 1, 2017.
A Chipotle restaurant in Virginia had to shut its doors temporarily in July of 2017 due to customers’ reports of diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pains after eating there. For Chipotle, cases of alleged food poisoning reaching the news is nothing new. In 2015, the fast casual burrito vendor faced numerous food poisoning cases at locations across the nation, including E.Coli, Norovirus, and Salmonella. With each outbreak, Chipotle saw its stock prices fall.
For many, falling ill briefly is just an expected part of traveling abroad. These short bouts of gastrointestinal difficulties are often referred to as “Delhi belly” or “Montezuma’s revenge” and are frequently blamed on adverse reactions to new foods or water sources. This is not correct. According to Richard Conroy, a travel sickness researcher and food scientist from the United Kingdom, issues like diarrhea and vomiting while traveling are always caused by food poisoning.
Salmonella was once the most common cause of food poisoning in the United States. It has recently been dethroned by Campylobacter, a parasite frequently found in unpasteurized dairy products and chicken. According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Salmonella reigned for 20 years as the most common food poisoning cause in the nation. The report also noted other common causes of food poisoning, such as Listeria and E.Coli.
There are many ways you can become ill after consuming food. You are probably aware that it is likely to become ill after consuming spoiled food. Though this can lead to food poisoning, it is not the only way to become ill after eating.
In the summer of 2016, an E.Coli outbreak in Chicago caused 52 victims to seek medical attention for their symptoms, 19 of whom needed to be hospitalized. The outbreak was linked to a Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill location. The restaurant closed this location as well as its other Chicago store to prevent new E.Coli cases while cooperating with the Chicago Department of Public Health’s investigation of the outbreak.
In the summer of 2016, 25 Chicago residents fell ill with symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E.Coli (STEC), five of whom had to be hospitalized. STEC is one of many strains of E.Coli that exist, all of which can cause food poisoning symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. STEC outbreaks are the most commonly-reported type of E.Coli outbreak.