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USFDA tests find Salmonella in MDH Sambar Masala, Three lots recalled

At least three lots of MDH’s sambar masala were withdrawn from the US earlier this week after tests conducted by the country’s food and drug regulator revealed that the products contained salmonella, it said.

a close up of a sign: The statement does not specify that the recall was voluntary.© Provided by IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd The statement does not specify that the recall was voluntary. “This product was tested by FDA through a certified laboratory to be positive for salmonella,” stated the US Food and Drug Authority (US FDA) in an official release on the move. “The recall was initiated after it was discovered by the FDA that the salmonella contaminated products were distributed,” it added.

The statement does not specify that the recall was voluntary.

Salmonella is a bacteria that causes salmonellosis, a common food borne illness with symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. Most people recover from it without treatment, but some may have diarrhea so severe that they would require hospitalisation, according to the FDA. In more severe cases, patients may develop a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, rash, blood in the urine or stool and, in some cases, salmonellosis may become fatal, according to it.

a bowl of food on a table© Provided by IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd“Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness,” it said.

The recalled lots (codes: 47, 48 and 107) were manufactured by R-Pure Agro Specialities, sold by US-based supplier ‘House of Spices’  and distributed in northern California retail stores. R-Pure has the same directors on its board as MDH, according to data accessed by The Indian Express on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) website on Tuesday.

It is not clear whether the MDH products manufactured by R-Pure for the US market have also been distributed in India. Queries sent to the registered email address of MDH listed on the MCA website remained unanswered by press time Tuesday.

Problems with salmonella contamination of MDH products have been flagged by the US FDA before, with the regulator detaining imports of its spice products in over 20 instances between 2016 and 2018 for this reason, according to the FDA website.

Preventing Future Infections – Salmonella

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Cook animal products thoroughly. Don’t eat or drink foods that have unpasteurized milk or raw eggs. This is the most common way people get infected with salmonella. Don’t hesitate to send undercooked meat, poultry and eggs back to the kitchen when you’re eating out.

  • Salmonella is most commonly found in animal products, but vegetables may also get contaminated. Be sure to wash all your vegetables before cooking them.
  • Wash your hands and work surfaces after they come into contact with raw poultry, meat or eggs

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Wash your hands after handling animals and their feces. This is another common way that salmonella is spread. Healthy reptiles and birds can carry salmonella on their bodies, and it’s also present in cat and dog feces. Any time you handle an animal or its feces, be sure to wash your hands with soapy water
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Don’t allow children to handle reptiles and young birds. Baby chicks, lizards and turtles, for instance, each carry salmonella on their faces. A child cuddling one of these animals could come into contact with salmonella. Since the infection is harder on a child’s immune system than an adult’s, it’s best to forbid children from getting close to animals who could contaminate them.[4]

Treating Salmonella

Treat Salmonella Step 2


Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Loss of fluids through vomiting and diarrhea creates the risk of dehydration. It is important to replace lost fluid and electrolytes by drinking water, herbal tea, juice, and broth. Even if it doesn’t feel good to drink, this is the best way to keep up your body’s energy and get past the worst of the symptoms.

  • Try eating a popsicle, ice chips or some sorbet as a way to get both water and sugar into your system.
  • Drink plenty of water especially after severe bouts of vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Children can drink a rehydration solution like Pedialyte to restore fluids and electrolytes

Treat Salmonella Step 3


Take an anti-diarrhea medication. loperamide (Imodium A-D) can help to relieve the cramping associated with salmonella-related diarrhea. However, this medication can also prolong the diarrhea itself.[3]

Treat Salmonella Step 4


Eat bland food while recovering from a salmonella infection. Eating salty or spicy foods can further aggravate your already-sensitive digestive system. Avoid rich fatty foods as well, which your digestive tract may find irritating.

Treat Salmonella Step 5


Use a heating pad or warm compress. Lay it over your abdomen to help relieve any cramps you may be experiencing. A hot water bottle, or a hot bath, will also do the trick

Treat Salmonella Step 6


Rest and give your body time to heal. Overdoing it may increase your recovery time. Your body will naturally fight against the salmonella and it will recover more quickly if you do not put undue stress on it. Take a few days off of work or school if you’re still experiencing diarrhea and vomiting

Diagnosing Salmonella Poisoning

Salmonella poisoning most often results from coming into contact with water or food contaminated with the salmonella bacteria. It can cause fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps, and is often referred to as food poisoning. Symptoms occur within 2 to 48 hours and can last up to 7 days. They usually go away on their own, but complications can arise on rare occasions.

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Identify the symptoms. Salmonella infection is usually caused by eating raw eggs or meat products that are contaminated with the bacteria. There’s an incubation period of a few hours to up to 2 days, followed by symptoms that can usually be classified as gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach or intestines.[1] The most common symptoms of a salmonella infection are the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Blood in the stool

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Know when to see the doctor. While salmonella usually doesn’t pose a high health risk, individuals with compromised immune systems, such as people with AIDS, sickle cell disease or inflammatory bowel diseases, are at an increased risk of complications from salmonella poisoning. Children and the elderly are also more likely to experience serious complications. If the symptoms don’t seem to be ebbing, and the person experiencing them is in a higher-risk group, it’s advisable to see a doctor as soon as possible. Immediate medical attention should also be sought if your or the person you’re concerned about experiences the following:

  • Dehydration, leading to decreased urine output, decreased tear production, dry mouth and sunken eyes.
  • Signs of bacteremia, a condition in which the salmonella enters the bloodstream and infects body tissues in the brain, spinal cord, heart, or bone marrow. A sudden high fever, chills rapid heart rate and an appearance of serious illness are signs that this may be occurring

Treat Salmonella Step 1


Get tested for salmonella infection. The doctor will assess the your symptoms and in most cases advise getting plenty of fluids and resting until the symptoms pass, since they usually go away on their own. If the doctor determines a test is necessary, a stool sample will be tested to determine whether it contains salmonella. [2]

  • The doctor may also decide to test a blood sample to determine whether bacteremia has occurred.
  • The doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the salmonella infection has spread beyond the digestive system.
  • If dehydration becomes severe enough, the patient may need to be admitted to the hospital to take fluids intravenously


How can I make sure the food I eat is safe?

While it’s largely up to food producers and retailers to make sure the foods you’re buying aren’t contaminated with listeria, taking the steps below will help cut your risks of infection:

• Rinse raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water—using a clean vegetable brush scrub on those with thicker skins—before cutting or eating. That even applies to foods with inedible peels like cantaloupe, to avoid spreading bacteria from the outside of the fruit to the flesh when you peel or cut it.

• Keep your fridge below 40° F (our experts recommend 37° F) and your freezer no higher than 0° F. Use a refrigerator thermometer to check those temperatures regularly. Even small increases in temperature cause any listeria bacteria present to multiply much more quickly, according to Ben Chapman, associate professor and food safety specialist at North Carolina State University. For example, 100 listeria cells (the term used for measuring the amount of bacteria present) in a food can grow into 1,000 cells in about eight days in a refrigerator set at 41° F. At 45° F, it would only take four days for 100 cells to become 1,000 cells.

• Limit storage time for refrigerated foods, especially opened ready-to-eat foods like deli salads and cut produce. Eat deli-sliced meats, or packaged-luncheon meats that have been opened, within three to five days. Hot dogs, once their packaging is opened, should be used within a week.

• Store leftovers no longer than 3 to 4 days in covered containers that are shallow to promote rapid, even cooling. Reheat them to 165° F and bring soups or sauces to a boil before eating.

• Wash your hands before and after handling food. Clean up all food spills in the fridge immediately and thoroughly clean your fridge regularly to avoid spreading any of the bacteria from one food to another.

Finally, even though the odds of getting listeriosis are low for most people, the health risks it poses are so serious that it’s worth keeping tabs on the latest listeria-related recalls on the Food and Drug Administration’s website. You can also sign up on the site to get safety alerts when recalls are announced—an especially good idea for anyone in high-risk groups.  


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