A Cereal Recall and My Salmonella Story

Posted by alisam on September 12th, 2018

According to a story on U.S. News and World Report, the FDA has issued a warning that Malt-O-Meal unsweetened puffed wheat and puffed rice cereals are being recalled because of possible Salmonella contamination. Malt-O-Meal packages this cereal under many generic store brand names, as well as in bags with the Malt-O-Meal logo. 21 (or more) people are sick in 13 (or more) states. Malt-O-Meal and FDA websites were not upgraded from reporting that nobody was sick at the time of this article.

Some years back, I was lucky enough to come in contact with both Salmonella poisoning and Severe Food Poisoning within three months of each other. Food Poisoning and Salmonella Poisoning are not the same things. With Salmonella poisoning, you have to come in contact with the live Salmonella bugs that live in human and animal intestines. This is why eggs are such a hazard after being laid.

My Salmonella story happened because I was stupid. One Saturday morning, my daughters decided to make breakfast for me as a surprise. They brought me my heaping plate of half-cooked eggs with shell fragments in them, and like a good Mommy, I choked them down along with my very thick cup of cold instant coffee. When I started to feel like I had the flu coming on a few hours later, it didn't surprise me.

For me, Salmonella wasn't that bad. I had a very light fever, some light cramps, and diarrhea; it did not put me down in bed. It took about 4-days before I felt completely normal again. It felt and acted like a very light case of the flu and I probably wouldn't have known that I didn't have the flu if I hadn't been scheduled in for a routine check-up while it was in progress.

Food poisoning on the other hand really catches your attention. Again, it was my own fault that I had food poisoning. After a group dinner, I had taken home some of the meat tray leftovers and forgot to take them out of the car until morning. They spent the night in the trunk of my car on a warm summer evening. I tried a bite to see if they tasted funny. I did not eat the pile, I ate one bite. It’s a story for research papers, surely.

My one bite of bad ham completely floored me for over three days. I could not keep liquids or anything else in my system, the cramping was constant, and I lost just over 8 pounds off of my 100lb frame during that short time period. Give me Salmonella over Food Poisoning any day. The Food Poisoning blurred my vision, muddled my thinking process, and was absolutely the worst sickness that I've ever had.

With Salmonella the bugs are completely killed by heat. If you cook your food, you can't get Salmonella from it. The Malt-O-Meal cold puffed-wheat and puffed-rice cereals are not being cooked before being eaten, and that is why people are getting sick if those Salmonella intestinal tract bugs are in the grains or raw unpasteurized milk somewhere.

It's a shame that this is happening to the unsweetened Malt-O-Meal cereals that we all promote to our children, but it could happen anywhere. The best thing to do if you are worried about Salmonella poisoning around your family is to remember that you must cook everything to a point of hot and very well done. For me, I don't worry about these recalls over Salmonella anymore. If I get it, I get it; it wasn't a biggie for me.

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