What Is Salmonella And Causes Of Foodborne Illness

One of the most common food-borne diseases in the U.S. is salmonella, and every year, hundreds of people in the country are hospitalized after being infected with it. In most cases, these incidents are caused by handling or consumption of infected chicken eggs, though cuts of chicken may also harbor the disease. The FDA estimates that about 140,000 people in the U.S. contract the illness every year, resulting in about 30 deaths. While proper food preparation can destroy the bacteria, during an outbreak, the disease may be harbored in foods not normally considered a risk. This is almost always due to poor quality control or inspection by the food producer.

Starting in July 2013, a salmonella outbreak has caused nearly 300 people to become ill with the disease. The bacteria has been traced to raw chicken produced by Foster Farms, a private poultry company based out of California. The producer’s chicken has been shipped to 18 states, including Texas, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. Product numbers associated with the tainted meat include P6137, P7632 and P6137A. It is possible to destroy the bacteria by cooking the chicken at high temperatures, though people who choose to do so will need to be extremely thorough in monitoring food temperature.

This outbreak of salmonella is particularly severe. While no deaths have been reported from the disease as of yet, the hospitalization rate is double the standard hospitalization rate associated with the bacteria. Many doctors are reporting that there are as many as seven strains of the bacteria involved in the outbreak, most of them resistant to antibiotics normally efficacious against the illness. In response to the outbreak, the CDC recalled 30 employees from furlough to monitor the spread of the disease.

Salmonella is a food-borne illness, so it produces symptoms similar to normal food poisoning. This includes abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever within a few days of consuming the tainted meat. It may cause symptoms for up to a week, severely taxing a person’s system and dehydrating them quickly. For this reason, it can be deadly in the young and old, and people with compromised immune systems.

Anyone who has contracted this bacteria after consuming possibly tainted food should consider speaking to a personal injury lawyer. Food safety is something that producers have a responsibility to maintain. When they don’t, their negligence can result in severe, even fatal, results.