It’s nuts how much coverage peanut butter has been getting in the press lately, and the news is still ‘spreading’. Salmonella, a sneaky sausage shaped germ, is suspected to have contaminated peanut butter containing food in a plant in Georgia causing hundreds of illnesses in 43 states. Over 20% of these unlucky folks were hospitalized and there were fatalities also. About 200 products have been recalled so far, most of them voluntarily. Before you bring home junior’s favorite peanut butter cookies for his birthday party, you may wish to consult www.fda.gov for the list of recalled products. Otherwise, the kids may take something else home with them beside the party favors you gave them.
There is nothing fun about contracting Salmonella, unless you enjoy nausea, vomiting, fever and profuse diarrhea. While most of these infections resolve on their own, for the young, elderly and for those with a compromised immune system, this infection can be very serious. For up-to-date information on the Salmonella situation, visit cdc.gov/salmonella/typhimurium.
This story should send a small chill to international travelers who may inadvertently discover Salmonella on their itinerary. This can ruin a trip for you and your traveling companions since the disease in contagious. Find out more important information and tips on traveler’s diarrhea.
If Salmonella can break out across the United States despite all of our laws, regulations and industry standards, imagine the possibilities abroad where oversight may be lax or absent. It is critical that travelers, particularly to the underdeveloped world, know how to minimize the risk of contracting this illness. There is no vaccine against Salmonella, so savvy travelers need knowledge and common sense. Discuss this issue with your travel physician before your trip, rather than first wonder about it when lunch is served at a restaurant a few thousand miles from home. You may not see Salmonella on the menu, but it may be a stealth stowaway in your Soup & Salad. Bon apetit!