Salmonella in Cucumber Outbreak!

Imported Cucumber Outbreak

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 70 people in America have become sick because of a salmonella outbreak connected to imported Mexican cucumbers. The CDC reported that 14 people have been hospitalized and are trying to identify other people who could have been infected.

The source of the outbreak is thought to be Mexican supplier Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacan, Mexico. The cucumbers were distributed by Tricar Sales Inc. of Rio Rico, Ariz., the CDC said.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stopped the imports by Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse unless they can prove that their cucumbers are not contaminated with salmonella. As of this point, California has reported the highest number of people who have fallen sick- 28. Among these people, the majority of them became sick between January 12th and April 6th. The outbreak reportedly reached its peak in early March but, the contaminated cucumbers have been pulled from shelves and are no longer on the market. But, the number of ill-stricken people could still rise. Due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported, more sick people could come forward.

Most persons infected with Salmonella bacteria develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. For example, the illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment. In some cases, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized- due to dehydration. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. Children younger than 5 years, older adults, and persons with compromised immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illnesses Salmonella.

Consumers should always follow safe produce handling recommendations like:

          Wash

o   Wash hands with soap and warm water before and after handling/preparing produce

          Prepare

o   Wash all produce thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting or cooking.

          Store

o       Refrigerate cut, peeled, or cooked produce as soon as possible, or within 2 hours.

o       Store produce away from raw meat, poultry, and seafood.

La Times

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The Dirty Dozen

Dirty Dozen

There has, and probably always will be, a debate as to whether consumers should purchase organic versus traditionally grown food sources. And I really didn’t think too much about the topic until I took an Agricultural Values and Ethics class my last year as an undergraduate, as a capstone requirement. Ever since then, I really have become aware of how information can really change how a consumer shops for groceries for their family.

This being said… I came across a term, “The Dirty Dozen”, in several articles about organic food versus traditionally grown food.

Every year, the Environmental Working Group releases a Shopper’s Guide. The guide has information on 45 different conventional fruits and vegetables and their pesticide loads. At the top of the list- the produce found to contain the highest amount of pesticides: is the Dirty Dozen. These are the 12 foods that they recommend consumers always purchase in their organic form. This Shopper’s Guide is based on the EWG’s analysis of pesticide residue testing data from the USDA and the FDA.

Then, on the bottom of the list, are the Clean Fifteen. These are 15 foods that have the lowest pesticide residue. If you’re on a limited budget and have to pick and choose your organic produce, the EWG encourages that you spend the extra money for the Dirty Dozen in their organic form and buy the Clean Fifteen in their conventional form.

Now that I’ve provided the education and substantial background on these organic-friendly foods, don’t get confused as to why I chose not to mention anything based on my opinion in this post. I personally, have different views about organic versus tradition foods. And again, I personally, will go out of my way to avoid purchasing organic foods. But, I’m not here to convince anyone to agree or disagree with my opinions. I’m here to provide nutritionally beneficial education to the public. And I hope I’m achieving this goal more and more as my ISPP Dietetic Internship, and future career as a Registered Dietitian, continue.

St. Louis Fox News

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