Salmonella, or salmonellosis, is a bacterial disease of the intestinal tract. They are a group of bacteria that causes typhoid fever, food poisoning, gastroenteritis, enteric fever and other illnesses. People become infected mostly through contaminated water or foods, especially meat, poultry and eggs. Salmonella infections in people last around four to seven days, causing diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting. In some cases, salmonella bacteria occur in animal and human feces, but animal feces contaminating large scale food production is what leads to hundreds of cases that are geographically diverse (Leighton 2016). While most people do recover from this bacterial assault without treatment, it can lead to hospitalization, permanent health deficiency or death in the elderly, infants and those with weakened immune systems (Leighton 2016). For this reason alone, we need to be cautious of our food choices and be aware.
There has been a new discovery however of pre cut salad that may encourage the growth of salmonella. This is due to the small damages in the salad leaves in bagged salad that encourage the presence of these bacteria (ASM 2016). Also salad juices in water doubled the motility of these bacteria. When the salad leaves were refrigerated for around 5 days, 100 salmonella bacteria multiplied at an alarming rate to around 100,000 individual bacteria. Microbial biofilms cling tenaciously to the surfaces of medical implants, stainless steel, ones teeth and Salmonella biofilms are no different when clinging on to salad leaves. They are unfortunately powerfully resistant in being washed off (ASM 2016).
Moreover, earlier studies have shown that Salmonella are so powerfully attracted to salad leaf and root juices that they can find their way into the plant development during the salad plant’s germination. Once inside, there is no way to wash them out (ASM 2016). Salad leaf crops are grown in open fields, where they can potentially be exposed to salmonella through feces of birds and other animals. Although this outbreak of a salmonella outbreak is not a huge problem, this is not really a small nonetheless either.
American Society for Microbiology. 2016. Precut salad may encourage growth of Salmonella. ScienceDaily.
Leighton P. 2016. Mass Salmonella Poisoning by the Peanut Corporation of America: State-Corporate Crime Involving Food Safety. Crit. Criminol. 24:75–91.