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Food Safety Focus (13th Issue, August 2007) – Food Incident Highlight

Salmonella in Snacks

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently warned consumers not to eat a crunchy snack product which was later confirmed to be contaminated with a strain of Salmonella responsible for a disease outbreak in the U.S. The warning from the FDA was subsequently updated to include one more variety of snack marketed by the same company. The CFS has also alerted the local traders not to sell and the public not to consume the products concerned.

Salmonella is found in the intestinal tract of humans as well as both wild and domestic animals. In food, Salmonella is more commonly found in beef, pork, poultry, milk, eggs and their products. Food poisoning can be caused by eating raw or undercooked food that contains the bacteria, or by consuming ready-to-eat food that has been contaminated with the bacteria through utensils, other foods or food-handlers. Individuals who are infected with Salmonella may suffer from fever, and gastrointestinal discomfort such as abdominal pain and diarrhoea. The symptoms are more severe in infants and the elderly. Manufacturers should ensure adequate processing in their food production steps to destroy the bacteria, and to prevent recontamination thereof.