On June 1, 2015, Idaho’s Central District Health Department (CDHD) investigated a Salmonella outbreak at the Boise Co-op deli. There were 290 people directly affected by the outbreak. Salmonella affects an estimated 1.2 million people and results in 19,000 hospitalization and 380 deaths in the United States. It is the costliest foodborne pathogen, costing Americans about $3.7 million every year. Salmonella is a naturally occurring bacterium found in the intestines of animals. It is passed to humans via eating food contaminated with small amounts of animal feces or via improper handling of contaminated food.
Researchers are very concerned about the emergence of multi-drug resistant Salmonella strains. The CDC reports that resistance will lead to increased rates of hospitalizations and treatment failure. So, with global climate change, risk of Salmonella outbreaks may increase.
Salmonella infections, like many other foodborne illnesses, are preventable. Consumers rely on the governmental agencies to ensure food safety. Specifically, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Food and Safety and Inspection Services, and Center for Disease Control and Prevention set food safety standards, conduct inspections, ensure that the standards are met and issue penalties for non-compliance. Fortunately, we can do our part at home.
Eulalia Gallegos, Caldwell