Food Safety

Angie SzumlinskiNews

We’ve all been there; surveyors enter your center and go directly to the dietary department. On any given day this area in your center is fraught with risk. Think about it, staff pull the eggs out of the refrigerator to prepare breakfast and don’t put them back promptly, one and done citation. How about food storage? I challenge you to go to your walk-in refrigerator and tell me every item opened is completely covered and dated. Not!

Recently, the CDC and FDA issued a joint food safety alert on diced onions contaminated with Salmonella. 73 cases of Salmonella were reported in 22 states, although no information regarding the outcomes related to the residents affected is available, trust me when I say, it couldn’t have been good! So, it doesn’t matter how trusted your food service provider is, things happen, just like it happens in your dietary department! What do we do? Per the CDC:

  • Check your freezers and refrigerators for recalled onion products.
  • If you have any, throw them away or return them to where you bought them. Do not eat them.
  • Although the recalled products are beyond their August 2023 use-by-dates, people may have frozen them to use later.
  • Wash items and surfaces that may have touched the recalled onion products using hot soapy water or a dishwasher.

The symptoms of Salmonella include:

  • Most people infected with Salmonella experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.
  • Symptoms usually start 6 hours to 6 days after swallowing the bacteria.
  • Most people recover without treatment after 4 to 7 days.
  • Some people—especially children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years and older, and people with weakened immune systems—may experience more severe illnesses that require medical treatment or hospitalization.

Notify your medical director if your residents have any of these severe Salmonella symptoms:

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration, such as:
  • Not peeing much
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Feeling dizzy when standing up

If you do nothing else going forward, stay informed on recalls that may affect your center, it can make a difference! Stay well and stay informed!