A voluntary recall has been initiated by Flower Foods as their Swiss Rolls, Goldfish and Ritz Crackers may have Salmonella lurking in the box.
Earlier this month Kellogg’s Honey Smacks were recalled for the same reason. And last week the US Department of Agriculture included Hungry-Man Chipotle BBQ Boneless Chicken Wyngz in the recall.
Why? Salmonella may have contaminated the whey protein powder used in these shelf products. Poor hand washing and improperly cleaned machinery could introduce the bacteria into the food supply.
Whey powder comes from milk, provides many of the nutrients such as calcium and thiamine, and is used as a food binder and extender, rendering the food product nonperishable.
Unlike other bacteria, however, Salmonella does not necessarily need moist environments to thrive. According to researchers at the University of Georgia, Salmonella can survive at least 6 months in cookies and crackers.
So the salmonella can live on the whey protein for months. And since most dry snacks are not cooked, there’s no opportunity to kill off the pathogens and those with vulnerable immune systems could become ill after ingestion.
Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Raw Turkey in 26 States
The CDC has reported over 90 people have been sickened with Salmonella being linked to raw turkey.
Over 26 states are currently affected including: Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include fever, chills, rash, diarrhea and stomach cramps within 12-72 hours after exposure. The illness can last 4-7 days, although most people will recover without treatment.
McDonald’s has voluntarily recalled their salads in multiple states as 163 cases are being investigated by the CDC for a food poisoning link.
Why is food borne illness on the rise?
Multiple issues could be playing a role.
- Fresh produce is not cooked like meat and can therefore harbor more germs
- Preservatives, used in fast food, help to deter pathogen growth, and more people are shying away from fast food than in the past, opting for “fresh,” healthier options.
- On-the-go produce may not be washed after packaging due to a false sense of security that the vegetables are “clean.”
- As our population ages, and as more people suffer from immunocompromising disease such as diabetes and cancer, they may be more susceptible to foodborne illness.
- Our gut microbiome has changed as our diets have shifted to food with more preservatives, hence possibly being less resilient to new pathogens that enter.
- In regards to the ground turkey, it is not the same as ground beef and leaving the patties pink in the center mean you are consuming raw poultry. Turkey meat may need to cook longer until no pink is seen and core temperature is at least 165 degrees for at least 15 seconds
- We’re less strict about cleaning than we used to be. Countertops used to be bleached and scrubbed for longer periods of time than we do now-a-days with antimicrobial wipes.
Therefore be diligent about cleaning countertops, cook your food thoroughly, wash produce before eating and be aware of any reported recalls.