Category Archives: Food poisoning

Insane Medicine – Your dishtowels have Salmonella and stool-related bacteria growing in them!!

Insane Medicine - Dirty dish towels and even 'clean' ones have tons of bacteria in them!
Insane Medicine – Dirty dish towels and even ‘clean’ ones have tons of bacteria in them!
Salmonella has been found with coliform bacteria to survive on dish towels even after washing and drying.
Salmonella has been found with coliform bacteria to survive on dish towels even after washing and drying.
  • Bacteria have been found to survive and grow on your dish towels, which can then cross-contaminate your food and give you illness!!
  • E. Coli and coliform bacteria, all from our gut (poop) have been demonstrated to grow on dish towels. The bacteria were cultured on special plates and their numbers decreased with frequent towel washing, but they could still survive the cleaning and drying process, thereby giving them the chance to contaminate other foods or your hands when you dry them in the towel.
  • Salmonella likewise can do similar as E. coli. In one study, it was found in 14% of all dishtowels surveyed in several cities!!
  • The moisture and food particles that remain on the towels with use allow the perfect environment for the growth of these bacteria.
  • Also found were Campylobacter on towel that had been used when a person did not wash their hands sufficiently after handling chicken.  E. coli 0157:H7 and numerous other bacteria have been cultured on kitchen/dishwasher towels.
  • What should you do? It was found that bleaching the towel could decrease bacterial counts. Using a 4000mg/L bleach solution for two minutes was effective in decreasing the bacteria. http://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/ServicesAndTools/Tools/Documents/Chlorine_Dilution_Tool2.xlsx < Calculator for bleach concentration.
  • Other options include frequent replacement of your dish towels. So remember – your dish towels may be your enemy in the realm of cleanliness as they carry many bad bacteria on them when they are not cleaned appropriately.
  • http://www.foodprotection.org/files/food-protection-trends/Sep-Oct-14-Gerba.pdf  < –Study showing contamination of dish towels with bacteria!!

Insane Medicine – Parasites – Cyclospora in food

Insane Medicine - Cyclospora - a cause of food poisoning that results in diarrhea illness
Insane Medicine – Cyclospora – a cause of food poisoning that results in diarrhea illness
  • We don’t think much of parasites in the United States as a source of illness because they seem like such tropical diseases, however, there are quite a few problems caused by parasites here, some that are transported to us, especially on food. Recently, in Texas, an infection caused by a protozoan, Cyclospora cayetanensis resulted in diarrhea-type illness in Texas. The culprit was cilantro imported from Peubla, Texas!
  • Cyclospora has been an occasional culprit of gastrointestinal infections in the United States. it is not endemic, but rather is tropical or sub-tropical in it’s origins.
  • It is a single celled organisms that is spread from fecally contaminated food and water.
  • Food products that have been found to carry Cyclospora in past outbreaks include snow peas, raspberries, and basil. No frozen products have been associated with outbreaks. It can occur at any time of the year but mostly in spring and summer months.
  • Symptoms of infection develop in a week, resulting in abdominal bloating and cramps, with primarily diarrhea, less often, there may be vomiting. Infected people can lose a lot of weight. Symptoms may last weeks to months with diarrhea alternating with constipation even.
  • It is diagnosed by examining stool for the parasite specifically. There is no blood test for this. Its’s treatment is with a sulfa- based antibiotic (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole).
  • Cyclospora is not killed by routine disinfection and sanitation measures, but it is best to wash fruit off thoroughly.
  • Do you have this infection? Unlikely, but in a group setting of infection, especially with the symptoms listed above, it is something to consider.

http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/cyclosporiasis/publications.html  <— Link to prior outbreaks of Cyclospora in the United States.

Insane Medicine - Cyclosporiasis life cycle - from CDC
Insane Medicine – Cyclosporiasis life cycle – from CDC