SMT LABS comments on the Salmonella outbreak in KZN

Quick facts

  • Contrary to popular belief, Salmonella is not only associated with chicken and fish.
  • Although contaminated foods are usually from animal origin, such as poultry, pork, raw milk and eggs, other foodstuffs (e.g. vegetables and fruit juices) may also be contaminated.
  • One would think that the shell of an egg is the perfect barrier to ensure that Salmonella does not enter the egg, however in some cases infected chickens produce eggs that contain Salmonella even before the shell is formed.
  • Interestingly, some outbreaks have previously been traced back to contaminants in spices!
  • Contamination of foodstuffs does not necessarily occur due to contact with animal feces or contaminated water, but can also originate from infected individuals that do not wash their hands after using the bathroom and then handles the foodstuffs in production and/or packing facilities.


Why is Salmonella dangerous?

Salmonella causes salmonellosis and in some cases typhoid fever (only caused by certain strains of Salmonella). Common symptoms of salmonellosis are headaches, fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramps. These symptoms may appear as early as 12 – 96 hours after infection. With the correct treatment, salmonellosis may be resolved within 5 – 7 days. It can however cause more serious infections in infants, the elderly and individuals with a compromised immune system.

Top Tips

1. In the warmer months of summer, Salmonella flourishes and special care should be taken to keep the cold chain of your raw materials and final products in order to avoid increased numbers of bacteria.

2. SMT LABS can help you with regular testing of your products to ensure outbreaks are prevented fast and effectively.

3. SMT LABS can test various matrices to identify the source of contamination in your facility, including surface swabs, hand swabs, boot swabs, rectum swabs, fluff, animal feed, water and food products.

4. SMT LABS turnaround time for Salmonella testing is 3-5 days.

5. Prevention is better than cure – test today, improve tomorrow!