If grocery shopping has begun to feel more like a minefield of possible contagions than a pleasant errand, this is for you. There have recently been as many as five known serious salmonella outbreaks nationwide, and concerns have reached some brands you may be stocking your refrigerator and pantry with. Ritz crackers, Kellogg's cereal, turkey products of various unnamed brands, imported crab meat, and a popular snack cake have all recently been cited by the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as being linked to various salmonella outbreaks nationwide.
Honey Smacks CerealAlthough Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal was recalled in June, 100 people in 33 different states have so far been infected with salmonella from the cereal. Some grocery stores have continued to sell it, and there have been at least 30 hospitalizations from the sweet puffed wheat cereal, but no deaths.
Raw TurkeyThe CDC has posted an investigation notice after 90 people were sickened in 26 states from a salmonella outbreak that has been traced back to raw turkey products. No deaths have been reported, but 40 people have been hospitalized with the infection, with the highest number of hospitalizations being in Minnesota. A supplier or producer has yet to be identified as the culprit.
Ritz CrackersMondelez International had to issue a voluntary recall for 16 varieties of Ritz brand cracker products due to potential salmonella risk. The supplier of a whey powder used in the products had to recall the product due to the presence of salmonella, and Mondelez followed suit. Although illnesses have yet to be reported, Mondelez warns that consumers should not eat the products listed in their press release, including but not limited to Ritz Bits Cheese, Ritz Cheese Cracker Sandwiches, and Ritz Bacon Cracker Sandwiches with Cheese.
Swiss RollsA popular snack cake sold under multiple brand names has also been recalled due to possible salmonella contamination linked to whey powder from a supplier. Swiss rolls manufactured by Flowers Foods Inc. of Thomasville, Georgia, and distributed under the Baker's Treat, Mrs. Freshley's, Market Square, and Great Value brands are being recalled at major to retailers such as Walmart, H-E-B, and Food Lion in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina according to a press release.
The Daily Meal has reached out to the FDA and the CDC on the possible connection between the Mondelez International and the Flowers Foods Inc. whey powder suppliers.
Crab MeatSalmonella isn't the only pathogenic bacterium that has caused recent trouble. The FDA has also warned against consuming crab meat imported from Venezuela that may be contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus. There have been 12 reported cases of the outbreak across the East Coast. The FDA advises that consumers ask where any crab meat they are served is from, whether dining out at a restaurant or purchasing in a grocery store.
McDonald's SaladDanger doesn't only lurk on grocery shelves. 163 people have developed an intestinal illness and three people have been hospitalized after consuming salad at McDonald's. As of July 13, McDonald's had stopped serving salads at 3,000 outposts in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
So why are foodborne illness outbreaks seeming to happen so often? Bill Marler, a food safety attorney, told The Washington Post that the increase in reports is likely due to both better monitoring and an actual uptick in cases of contamination. "It seems that there's something more going on in the food system than just better surveillance," he said.
The best way to avoid contamination is to throw out any products that are subject to a recall. Salmonella poisoning can cause diarrhea, fever, chills, and abdominal pain. Most people recover in four to seven days without medical treatment, but young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems may experience more severe reactions that could result in death. Salmonella is just one of the seven ways that a restaurant can make you sick.