Salmonella on Oahu

shutterstock_434079139You probably have heard about a salmonella outbreak that has been linked to limu poke. The announcements by the DOH have confirmed that a Kahuku farm, Marine Agrifuture LLC (also known as Olakai Hawaii) is the source.

At least 14 people have been sickened starting in mid-October, including children.  Four people have been hospitalized.  Salmonella can be very dangerous, especially for children.  If you have vomiting and/or diarrhea, don’t think it’s just “the flu,” please see a doctor.  State Epidemiologist Dr. Sara Park stated, “we want the public to be aware of the situation so they seek medical care if needed.”

Olakai Hawaii was ordered by the DOH to stop selling and distributing its Kahuku Ogo, Robusta Ogo and Sea Asparagus products.  All have been grown and packaged with contaminated equipment.  These products are widely distributed around the state, and even to the mainland.

Salmonella is most often contracted by eating raw or undercooked meat/poultry/eggs.  But anything that is contaminated with it can cause illness.  It can be fatal in certain people, especially young children and the very old.  Symptoms include severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Sometimes the symptoms are so severe that “you’re almost more afraid that you’re going to live,” says Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt Medical School in Nashville, Tenn.

The best ways to stop salmonella are to cook food to the correct temperature, don’t cross-contaminate, and wash hands.

As a general Food Safety question, why are parents letting their children eat raw fish/poke?  Children are at a very high risk from foodborne illness such as salmonella.  In our ServSafe Classes we discuss the importance of not letting kids in restaurants eat any raw or undercooked meat/poultry/seafood/eggs, it’s just too dangerous.  Please implement that policy at your restaurant.

TOBE Co. Food Safety offers Manager Food Safety Training and Certification classes open to the public, using the ServSafe curriculum, the most widely accepted in the country.  Their next class is on Oahu on February 7, 2017.  For more information or to register call Tom at 235-0797.

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Tom Frigge, Owner, TOBE Co. Food Safety

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