When your mother told you to eat all of your vegetables, she never thought you would be in danger of dying from Salmonella or, food poisoning, as it’s commonly known. We typically blame food poisoning on raw foods like chicken, beef, seafood or dairy products. But did you know that vegetables are the leading cause of Salmonella poisoning not dairy or meats? While dairy and meats can lead to food poisoning, vegetables are the main food group that transmits the sneaky bacteria that cause Salmonella.
Salmonella | Diarrhea, Fever, Abdominal Cramps
The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, GA defines Salmonellas or Salmonella as they are commonly referred to, as bacteria that cause people to become sick. Theobald Smith, research-assistant to Dr. Daniel Elmer Salmon, an American scientist who was in charge of the research, discovered the first strain of Salmonella. This bacterium has been known to cause illness in humans for more than a century. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps between 12 and 72 hours after infection. The illness can lasts for as long as a week, and most people recover without treatment.
Salmonella From Vegetables Can Kill You
For some, diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other parts of the body. In these cases, Salmonella can kill the patient unless the person is treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. The elderly, infants, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness. Salmonella infections are more common in the Summer than Winter.
Two Most Common Types of Salmonella
There are many different kinds of Salmonella bacteria. Two of the more common strains in the United States are:
1. Salmonella serotype (variation) Typhimurium
2. Salmonella serotype (variation) Enteritidis
The comparisons in the chart below show the high percentage of Salmonella from vegetables such as tomatoes or zucchini compared to meat and dairy products.
Leafy vegetable row crops
(E. coli 0157)
Causes of Salmonella by %
Salmonella On A Plate
Some restaurants are very popular because they serve meat and three meals that consist of meat and three vegetables. This is the perfect combination of Salmonella on a plate. That’s pretty drastic but you know what I mean. You can see how easy it is for a Salmonella outbreak to occur if you think about how many people eat at meat and three restaurants on a daily basis. We actually eat at one near our place on a semi-regular basis.
I Thought I was Going To Die
I normally don’t get food poisoning but the worst case of food poisoning I’ve ever had was after eating fried shrimp from a local fast food restaurant. I was a young adult at the time and hardly ever got sick. But not only was I sick and in bed for three days, I thought I was going to die. I didn’t know how possible that was at the time. According to the CDC, 3,000 people die from foodborne poisoning every year. It was a very long time before I ate any more shrimp.
Figures from the CDC say, 48 million people, or one of every six Americans — suffer from a foodborne illness each year. In addition, 128,000 are hospitalized and approximately 3,000 die. This isn’t what mom had in mind when she said, “Eat your vegetables. They’re good for you.” Looking at the numbers, vegetables are good for us most of the time. You just don’t want to be one of the 18 per cent of people that get Salmonella poisoning from vegetables.