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Salmonella Could Cause Damage to Your DNA

3/6/17 9:38 AM

Food poisoning is a common health problem, and with more than 250 different illnesses it’s not a surprise that 48 million Americans, or 1 in 6 of us, will get sick each year. Although there is a good chance we could fall ill because of something bad we ate, we usually bounce back from it in a couple days. However, new research from Cornell University shows that one of the main bacterial causes of food poisoning can have a lasting effect on a person.

Food scientists at Cornell found the salmonella serotype, Typhi, can actually cause permanent damage our DNA. Typhi produces a cytolethal distending toxin (S-CDT) that attacks the cells of its host causing damage to the DNA, and is also the cause of typhoid fever. Other common strains of salmonella that can lead to food poisoning including Javiana, Montevideo, Oranienburg and Mississippi were also found to have the same potential.

During testing on lab-grown human cells, all five salmonella strains with S-CDT producing bacteria were found to have caused DNA damage. While scientists cannot pinpoint what effects such damage will have on the body in the long run, it could make future cases of food poisoning last longer.

Rachel Miller, author of the study, compares the possibly damage to applying sunscreen, "While not the sun, salmonella bacteria may work in a similar way. The more you expose your body's cells to DNA damage, the more DNA damage that needs to be repaired, and there may one day be a chance that the DNA damage is not correctly repaired. We don't really know right now the true permanent damage from these salmonella infections."

To prevent foodborne illnesses from occurring, food processors must implement a HACCP plan. This not only allows processors to identify food safety hazards, but also steps throughout production to prevent, eliminate or reduce pathogens that cause disease. A key component of any HACCP plan is monitoring the temperature and humidity of food to ensure safety and quality. MadgeTech offers a variety of data loggers designed to withstand the harsh cooking, cooling and storage conditions involved in food processing. To view all of the data logging solutions for food processors, click here.

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