Cookies and crackers may carry salmonella
Whilst you are in the festive mood buying variety of food items for your kids, be careful what your kids take in as reports published in the Journal of Food Protection has it that cookies and crackers may carry salmonella and other pathogens that can survive for at least 6 months.
What is Salmonella?
- Salmonella is a bacteria
- It causes fever, diarrhea
- Between twelve to 72 hours after infection, it can lead to abdominal cramps.
- Salmonella infection can be severe resulting to a spread of infection from the intestines to the blood stream up to other body parts.
- It may lead to death.
Aim of research: Following the increase in the outbreak of food borne diseases, a research became necessary to
- Investigate salmonella in dry foods or low-water-activity
- To determine how long bacteria that causes food borne illness can survive in certain foods.
Foods such as cookie and cracker sandwiches have very low moisture content, hence, they were used by the researchers having been previously contaminated. The researchers used 5 different serotypes of salmonella that had been isolated from the cookie and crackers which were previously involved in food borne outbreaks.
Salmonella was placed in four types of fillings found in cookies or crackers and then placed in storage.
The researchers used cheese and peanut butter fillings for the cracker sandwiches and chocolate and vanilla fillings for the cookie sandwiches, to make the kind of product that is found in grocery stores or vending machines. After storage, the researchers ascertained the life span of salmonella in each filling.
Contrary to normal expectations, the pathogen survived better in the cookie sandwiches than in the crackers, and in some cases, it survived for at least 6 months. It is unexpected that salmonella would grow in foods with a very dry environment.
To control salmonellainfection especially in severe cases,
Early treatment with antibiotics is necessary.
Patients may be hospitalized
Who is at risk?
- Those with impaired immune systems and
- The elderly
Sources of salmonella: Common sources of salmonella may include
- Contaminated water (especially contamination with animal feces)
- Animal food sources; (poultry, fish, eggs beef, milk,)
- Processed foods, vegetables, and fruits and can carry the bacteria.
Ways of Contamination
- Food in a refrigerator, shopping cart, or surfaces may be contaminated by blood, water or other drippings from raw meat or poultry products during preparation.
- During the preparation of raw meat, the use of cutting boards or knife may lead to contamination if not properly washed.
In addition to other research, the study shows that salmonella and other food borne pathogens can survive for unusual lengths of time in dry foods. However, researchers are considering new measures for preventing food contamination and outbreaks.