Lessons Learned From The Salmonella Outbreak In Norway

An outbreak of Salmonella occurred in Norway earlier this year, sickening more than 23 people and prompting food industry.

How Big Is The Problem

“Each year, between 900 and 1,300 cases of salmonellosis are reported to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Most of the infections in Norway occur from those traveling abroad In larger countries like the United States. Salmonellosis causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths each year.”

An outbreak of Salmonella occurred in Norway earlier this year, sickening more than 23 people and prompting food industry professionals and government agencies to rethink their oversight and food safety processes. 

For the food industry, in particular, the prevention of Salmonella is a high priority. While we do not yet know all the details of the most recent case, there are several best practices and prevention methods that can help to prevent it from happening again.

 

What Is Salmonella?

Salmonella can be found in many food sources, including raw meat, undercooked or improperly stored poultry and seafood, raw eggs, fresh produce, and even spices, nuts and supplements.

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that exists in several forms, some of which live in food and make the people who eat it ill. More severe symptoms may occur in young children, older people, pregnant women and people who are immunocompromised. Salmonellosis is an asymptomatic infection caused by bacteria of the Salmonella type. People can experience symptoms of Salmonella infection between six and 72 hours after exposure and these usually last for three to seven days. They include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, stomach cramps and loss of appetite. More severe symptoms may occur in young children, older people, pregnant women and people who are immunocompromised.

Causes of Salmonella

  • Contaminated food, often having no unusual look or smell.
  • Poor factory design and hygiene
  • Poor kitchen hygiene, especially problematic in institutional kitchens and restaurants because this can lead to a significant outbreak.
  • Excretions from either sick or infected but apparently clinically healthy people and animals (especially dangerous are caregivers and animals).
  • Polluted surface water and standing water (such as in shower hoses or unused water dispensers).
  • Unhygienically thawed poultry (the meltwater contains many bacteria). 
  • Salmonella also has an association with reptiles (pet tortoises, snakes, iguanas, and aquatic turtles).

Salmonella And Food Industry Safety

For the food industry, in particular, the prevention of Salmonella is a high priority. Here are some best practices and prevention methods that can help to prevent it from happening again.

Best practices to decrease the chance of Salmonella and other pathogen outbreaks in the food industry

The creation and implementation of management systems for the proper washing and maintenance of food machinery, food preparation and food processing and packaging work areas. Thorough and regular washing can mitigate the risk of foodborne illness such as Salmonella. Hygienic design of food factories, this includes, easy to clean equipment, right materials (such as stainless steel (AISI 316 L)), good drainage and prerequisite training. HACCP system that is followed in the day-to-day business. Simple, easy-to-follow and structured processes for all food preparation, processing, packaging and storage. Simple, easy-to-follow and structured processes and training for staff involved in the handling of food. Effective food safety measurement systems, such as Culture Excellence. Web-based trending and analysis of results (See Aquatiq BioMap). Regular oversight and auditing of the food safety management systems including measurement and testing. Regular and clear staff communication and competency training regarding food safety.

About Aquatiq

Aquatiq® provides complete food safety solutions and expertise to the global food industry, offering a holistic approach that includes consultation, equipment and hygiene systems. Aquatiq offers food safety courses, certifications, audits as well as specialized chemistry for food processing and mechanical industries. Aquatiq does what it takes to ensure the production and distribution of safe food for companies around the world. 

Contact us for expertise on how to prevent salmonella and pathogen outbreaks in food factories.