U.S. Health Officials Are Advising Americans To Avoid These Foods, Which May Carry Parasites

Salads, pasta salads, melons, and a number of favorite snacks are on the list.

Salmonella and Cyclospora are contaminating food in the U.S.
Ed Ivanushkin / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Cropped and resized)

Salads, pasta salads, melons, and a number of favorite snacks are on the list.

According to a report by CNN, U.S. health officials are officially advising Americans to avoid a number of different foods in response to a potential outbreak of salmonella, which may be found in the named foods.

Salmonella is a serious bacterial infection which primarily affects the intestines, potentially causing intestinal pain and severe diarrhea.

Health officials are also warning citizens that the parasite known as Cyclospora is showing significant numbers in conjunction with salads from McDonald’s. Cyclospora is known to come as a direct result of ingesting fecal matter.

The list of foods to avoid include numerous popular snacks, like Hyvee pasta salad, which has been recalled in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, which and has been linked with salmonella. Raw turkey in 26 states is being reported as a salmonella risk. Watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe which has been pre-cut specifically, is being advised against consuming in 23 states. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal in 33 states is on the list as a salmonella risk, as have Swiss rolls, and Ritz crackers.

McDonald’s has recalled salads in response to parasite outbreak. Scott Olson / Getty Images

Foods associated with Cyclospora include McDonald’s salads and certain vegetable trays. Fresh crab meat, particularly crab imported from Venezuela, is also being advised against consuming in an outbreak related to neither Cyclospora, nor salmonella, but to a third outbreak involving a different parasite known as vibrio parahaemolyticus.

WebMD lists the symptoms of salmonella as being “stomach-related,” and further elaborate on the bacterial illness.

“The infection itself is called ‘salmonellosis.’ But most people know it by the name salmonella, which is actually the name of the bacteria that causes the infection.

“Along with having the runs when you go to the bathroom, you can also have a fever, along with pain and cramping in your stomach. Most people who get salmonella get better on their own, at home, within 4 to 7 days.”

Most of the symptoms you’ll have from a salmonella infection will be stomach-related:

  • Cramps in your stomach
  • Bloody stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Cold and chills
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sick to your stomach
  • Throwing up

Some ways to minimize spread and exposure to salmonella, along with the other aforementioned parasites, is by people simply washing hands with warm soapy water after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, or even after handling pets, as such parasites can be carried by a number of different channels.

Worldwide cases of salmonella occur tens of millions of times per year and salmonella is almost never fatal in otherwise healthy people.