Recently, some foods have been recalled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, upon the discovery of certain packaged food items being contaminated with the salmonella bacteria.

“Anyone who becomes infected with salmonella can get sick, at some degree, can have fever, can have abdominal cramps, can have diarrhea,” said Dr. Simon Kapaj, Medical Health Officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

The symptoms are more severe in children under the age of five, adults over the age of 65, and in persons with compromised immune systems, such as having HIV, diabetes or undergoing cancer treatment.

Most people, however, just get sick for a few days.

“It’s a bacterial infection that lasts three or four to seven days maximum,” said Dr. Kapaj.

“Individuals can recover without treatment, however, in some individuals that are at high risk, infection can be severe enough to require some hospitalization and also some fluids,” he explained.

“In some cases, the diarrhea may be so severe, that the person needs to be hospitalized. Sometimes the salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and also to other parts of the body,” he noted. “In this case the salmonella can cause death unless the person is treated with antibiotics. But this is a very small group of people.”

With respect to food safety, Dr. Kapaj recommends properly cleaning and cooking foods to prevent infection from any bacteria that may be present.

“Food is safely cooked when the internal temperature gets enough to kill the germs and otherwise they can make you sick,” noted Kapaj. “Different foods have a different temperature where they should be cooked at what temperature.”

He suggests using a food thermometer to ensure foods are cooked at the safe required temperature.

Food recall information from the CIFA is available HERE.

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