RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Dozens of peanut butter products made by Jif have been voluntarily recalled due to a possible Salmonella contamination, causing a variety of other products to be pulled from store shelves in its wake.
Salmonella is a common culprit of recalls like this one, most often present in meat, dairy products and produce such as fruits and vegetables, according to Mayo Clinic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Salmonella causes an estimated 1.35 million illnesses, 26,500 hospitalizations and 420 deaths per year in the United States. Most strains of Salmonella bacteria cause an illness called salmonellosis, but some others can cause typoid fever or paratyphoid fever.
Infection from Salmonella in humans is most commonly caused by eating raw or undercooked meat or eggs, or by drinking unpasteurized milk. Salmonella can also be present in a variety of foods, however, including fruit, vegetables, chocolate, baby formula, salad mix, bread and even seasoning mix. Sometimes there are even outbreaks with completely unknown origins.
It can take anywhere between six hours to six days after being exposed for symptoms to occur. Salmonella affects the digestion system, and the most common symptom of infection is diarrhea. Other symptoms include stomach cramps, fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, headaches and bloody stool.
Most symptoms of Salmonella infection last a few days to a week, but in some cases can last several weeks. Some people may develop reactive arthritis after being infected.
Most people infected with Salmonella will not need medical attention, as the bacteria will usually pass on its own, but people with serious or long-term infections should seek antibiotics. As is the case with many strains of bacteria, resistance to antibiotics in Salmonella is increasing over time, so proper use of antibiotics is important.
A few things can increase the likelihood of infection from Salmonella; including taking antacids, which lowers the stomach’s bacteria-killing acidity; inflammatory bowel disease, which damages the intestinal lining making it easier for Salmonella to take hold and recent use of antibiotics, which can reduce the prevalence of beneficial bacteria and affect the body’s ability to fight infection.
Preventative steps can be taken to reduce the risk of infection from Salmonella, including washing your hands often, avoiding eating raw eggs and cooking and storing food properly.