Year-round, food is a big part of our lives, celebrations, and gatherings with friends and family. Whether you select fresh produce from your local Publix or Kroger to make a garden-fresh salad, or you serve ice cold milk from Walmart to your family, or if you dine on chicken, beef or pork at your favorite local restaurant, you could come down with a serious case of salmonella infection (aka salmonella poisoning).
“What is salmonella poisoning?” Salmonella infection is technically called “salmonellosis,” a bacterium from animal feces that causes infection in humans. You may also know it as “food poisoning.” If you get it, you can experience a fever, stomach pain, cramping, dehydration, nausea and vomiting, which can cause you to miss a whole week off work, but in some cases it can be deadly.
Sources of salmonella include:
- Contaminated milk
- Contaminated eggs
- Contaminated fruits and vegetables
The most common way for people to get salmonella poisoning is to consume meat, eggs, or milk that is infected with the bacteria, but people can also become infected after eating fruits and vegetables that have come into contact with manure from infected animals. Animal feces, or manure, is often used to fertilize our crops, which is why spinach, lettuce, and strawberries have been sources for salmonella.
Another source of salmonella is the water used to grow fruits and vegetables. While animal feces in manure is the main culprit, the water used on crops can be contaminated with salmonella, which can lead to infection in humans who consume the crops.
Lastly, the way a restaurant handles or cooks food can also be a source of infection. For example, if a cook cuts contaminated chicken on a cutting board and then cuts vegetables on the same cutting board without cleaning it, the vegetables can become infected. Or, if a restaurant serves contaminated food, the customers can get very sick.
When Should I Be Worried?
Most cases of salmonella poisoning clear up within a week, but some people can experience serious complications, especially young children, seniors, and people with weak immune systems. Some cases of salmonella infection will require hospitalization, while others can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of salmonella poisoning:
- Stomach cramps
- Bloody stools
If salmonella infection gets into a person’s blood, it can infect the tissues around the brain and spinal cord, the lining around the heart, the bones or bone marrow, as well as the lining of the blood vessels. On June 14, 2018 for example, Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal was recalled after reports of salmonella infection. And, on June 9, 2018, a variety of melons were recalled for potential salmonella contamination.
At Jones & Swanson, our Smyrna personal injury attorneys are investigating salmonella outbreak cases and filing claims on behalf of those injured by contaminated foods. To learn more, contact our firm to schedule a free case evaluation.