The high cost of Salmonella poisoning
Salmonella food poisoning in the United States costs approximately $2.5 billion dollars annually (ERS, USDA, 2006).
While this cost includes the loss from premature death, it does not include chronic complications, disability, pain and suffering, or out-of-pocket expenses.
In years when annual deaths from salmonella poisoning exceed 1000 people, and the data includes agricultural losses, then total costs have been estimated to be as high as $12 billion after a poisoning event (NIMSS.umd, 2007).
On top of the post-poisoning costs, the routine costs of trying to control salmonella in the food supply prior to a poisoning event (before that food is sold or consumed) are estimated as high $14.6 billion in 2012.
Is green tea antibacterial?
Since the late 1980's, green tea research has shown that green tea has antibacterial properties against Salmonella (Toda, 1989, Shetty, 1994).
Salmonella needed higher concentrations of green tea for inhibition of growth compared to other bacteria (Yoda, 2004), but tests showed effectiveness even at “cup of tea” strength (Toda, 1989).
One study showed that green tea and its polyphenol catechins are effective against 26 separate strains of Salmonella (Taguri, 2004).
Another study showed that EGCG, the primary polyphenol catechin of green tea, was the most effective, but it could be neutralized by the addition of protein (Yoda, 2004).
Most studies show effectiveness from 44% to 100% inhibition for both Salmonella typhimurium and Salmonella enteriditis (Si, 2006, and above studies), but one study showed no suppression with Salmonella enteriditis (Kim, 2004).
Black tea has shown conflicting results against Salmonella typhimurium.
One study shows slightly greater strength than green tea (Tiwari, 2005) and another shows the lowest effectiveness for black tea compared to green tea (Chou, 2004).
This research is considered preliminary and tea has not been proven to prevent Salmonella food poisoning in people.
Sources of Salmonella poisoning
Most Salmonella poisoning involves an animal source. Animal habitat can be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide spray and agricultural waste processed with hydrogen peroxide to kill Salmonella before it reaches the water table.
At home, be careful with raw products like eggs (500 million contaminated eggs in August 2010 recall), milk, poultry, and meat, especially in salad dressings, ice cream, raw cookie dough, and undercooked, unrefrigerated meats. Vegetables can also become contaminated like the 2006 outbreak in 21 U. S. states from tomatoes, and the 2008 outbreak in over 40 U. S. states from salsa.
Another source is with pet reptiles, including turtles (small ones were banned in 1975 because of Salmonella).
Be sure to wash your hands frequently with soap if you work in agriculture, in the kitchen, or with pets. Always wash your hands with soap before and after touching infants or people with illnesses. Breast-feeding helps prevent salmonella poisoning with young infants (CDC, 2007).
And if you choose to add several cups of daily green tea as one of your healthy habits, make sure the tea is not decaffeinated (unless you are seriously allergic to caffeine), and is prepared fresh for greatest effectiveness.
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This page last updated by Sharon Jones on January 14, 2013
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