Being exposed to a foodborne pathogen can have serious consequences, some of which many people are familiar with. Many people have suffered food poisoning and the gastrointestinal discomfort that comes along with it. Similarly, those with food allergies are likely all too familiar with the effects of being exposed to a food that is dangerous for them to eat. But while food poisoning and the side effects of food allergies may be somewhat familiar for a large number of people, death from food poisoning or a food allergy certainly is not.
Two residents of Orange County have become ill with botulism, a potentially deadly illness linked to the consumption of canned and fermented goods. One of the residents was confirmed to be suffering from botulism by the Orange County Health Care Agency. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health suspects the two cases are linked to the consumption of deer antler tea obtained in March of 2017 and urge all individuals who have this tea in their possession to dispose of it.
Certain types of food pose a greater food poisoning risk to consumers than others. Generally, foods with organic sources, such as meat, dairy, and produce products are more likely to harbor dangerous bacteria than processed foods because they are not created in controlled facilities. This does not mean that they cannot harbor harmful bacteria. Any food or consumable product can cause an individual to suffer from food poisoning if it contains harmful bacteria or foreign objects.
During the holiday season, churches and charitable organizations across the country host meals and social gatherings for the residents of their communities, particularly those residents who do not have close friends or relatives to visit for holiday celebrations. These gatherings are often organized and staffed by volunteers who, despite having kind intentions, do not always have the food handling skills necessary to safely serve others.
Recent research from McMaster University found that individuals who have suffered from food poisoning may be at a greater risk of developing Crohn's Disease than individuals who have not suffered from food poisoning. The findings were published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.
Some types of food poisoning are more common than others. For example, you tend to hear more reports of Listeria and Salmonella outbreaks than Campylobacter and Shigellosis. Although you might feel like you hear about Listeria every other week, do not brush it off as unimportant.
When dangerous bacteria is found in food, that food's manufacturer issues a recall as soon as possible to contain the bacteria and prevent any further cases of consumers falling ill with food poisoning after eating it. You can stay up-to-date about the latest food recalls by visiting recalls.gov.
The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets recently published a food safety alert regarding raw milk from Jerry Dell Farm, Inc. in Freeville, New York. Samples of the milk found that it was contaminated with Salmonella, a type of bacteria that can cause a variety of illness symptoms like nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and diarrhea. Beyond these symptoms, salmonella infection can also lead to arthritis, endocarditis, and arterial infections.
A cyclospora outbreak traced to cilantro has infected 218 people so far this summer, making it the third consecutive summer that the parasite has travelled to the United States.
The 2013 Outbreak
In 2013, 631 people in 25 states were sickened from multiple cyclospora outbreaks beginning in June and ending in December. The outbreaks were traced to multiple food sources but the majority of illnesses were related to tainted produce from Mexico. 80% of the cases ocurred in Iowa, Nebraska, and Texas.