Salmonella The Facts

Salmonella may be on the decrease with a seven year reduction in reported cases of Salmonellosis in Europe, but this deadly pathogen is still responsible for major outbreaks of food poisoning in the UK and throughout the world. 

 

Reducing the risk of Salmonella is important for moral, legal and financial reasons. Salmonellosis leads to 2,500 hospitalisations every year and a report by European Food Safety Authority estimates the annual economic burden in Europe at 3 billion Euros. The failure to control the risks of Salmonella by food businesses and its employees can also be severe with large fines, substantial civil claims and in some cases long prison sentences. A food manufacturer in the UK was fined £1,000,000, plus £152,000 in legal costs for chocolate bars contaminated with Salmonella Montevideo. Following a large outbreak of Salmonellosis in USA between 2008 and 2009, the owner of the Peanut Corporation of America was sentenced in 2015 to 28 years in prison. Two employees were also sentenced with an executive sentenced to 20 years and quality assurance manager to 5 years.

 

A report by European Food Standards Authority suggests eggs and products made with eggs were the most common food vehicles implicated in outbreaks of Salmonellosis in the EU in 2012.  Other foods implicated in outbreaks include chocolate, beansprouts, curry leaves, melon and coconut.

 

The salmonellosis normally starts 12-36 hours after eating contaminated food. Symptoms normally last for 4 to 7 days and mostly include fever, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting, but in rare cases can lead to chronic arthritis and a life threating blood infection that can infect the brain, heart, bones and other parts of the body.

 

Food safety training is important as it will make food handlers more aware of potential hazards. Level 2, 3 and 4 food safety courses include food safety hazards, controls measures and the principles of HACCP. 

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