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Salmonellosis outbreak in the USA: in which foods are dangerous bacteria most common

Food safety experts say they are not surprised at how quickly the Salmonella outbreak has spread across 37 US states. An outbreak involving onions imported from Chihuahua, Mexico has resulted in more than 600 diseases, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Where else can a dangerous bacterium lodge, the publication said Yahoo!

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“The problem with Salmonella is that it is a very resistant pathogen, it can survive in soil, it survives in water for a long time,” says Keith Warriner, professor of food science at the University of Guelph. "Once in the environment, he is able to independently find his way to all kinds of food."

Onions are grown in open fields and it is impossible to prevent all wild animals from accessing crops and water that they can use for irrigation. Dr. Claudia Narvaez, assistant professor of food and human nutrition at the University of Manitoba, says farmers often take precautions to prevent infection, but sometimes some bacteria can still get through.

“If farmers take water from rivers or lakes, and animals go to the river, then the water can be contaminated with the faeces of these animals, because they often bathe in the water,” explains Narvaez.

What foods are salmonella most common in

Poultry meat

Raw and undercooked poultry, including chicken and turkey, are at high risk of contracting Salmonella. Experts point out that breaded chicken products like chicken nuggets are also often linked to salmonella contamination because people assume they're already cooked when they buy them and don't cook the nuggets properly.

On the subject: Hundreds of people in 37 states fell ill: onions infected with salmonella are recalled in the United States


Eggs are very sensitive to salmonella and can cause disease if eaten raw or undercooked.

“Usually the number of infected eggs is 0,001 percent, but the problem is that we often eat eggs that are not completely cooked. This is a risk factor, ”says Warriner.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions are known to cause food poisoning when eaten raw.

“You can cook onions, but the problem is that we often use them for salads or guacamole without cooking,” Narvaez notes.

Experts say the main cause of food contamination is from the water sources used for irrigation.


Various types of raw sprouts, including alfalfa and mung bean, have been linked to salmonella poisoning. The sprouts require water and a warm environment to germinate, which creates really good conditions for bacteria to grow.

Peanut butter

Peanut butter is another food product that can be contaminated with salmonella before it reaches the processing plant. Peanuts are grown underground and can become infected from manure, which is often used as fertilizer.


Fish and shellfish can also be contaminated, especially if imported from warmer climates. Cooking raw seafood properly is the best way to prevent food poisoning.

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Pet food

Salmonella can harm more than just humans. Experts say pet owners should be careful when buying food for their pets. For example, dry food is often heated to a high temperature that kills bacteria. But, nevertheless, Warriner says, there have been cases of salmonella being found in flavorings that were added to food after it was cooked.

How to prevent salmonella infection

Cook Raw Meat Properly: chicken or any other meat must be subjected to the required temperature regime. A meat thermometer is a handy tool to make sure your food is ready and safe to eat.

Sanitation: make sure you don't cross-contaminate. Wash cutting boards, utensils, and hands after handling raw meat products. In addition, it is not recommended to wash meat before cooking.

Store food at the proper temperature: When shopping during the hot summer months, keep a refrigerator in your car to keep the meat from spoiling.

Follow the reviews: if you notice a recall, check your pantry or refrigerator to make sure you are not consuming the recalled product.

Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and headaches.

If you have a recalled item in your home, it is recommended that you throw it away or return it to the store where you bought it.

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