Salmonella has proven such a hard-to-fight problem that the FDA is awarding cash to basically anyone who can figure out some way to battle it. And, well, as much as we’d like to tell you about some new announcement that some university or research group has figured out an amazing solution, what we have for you today is more like an elaboration on the depth of the problem.
A study from researchers at the University of Georgia created experiments to find out, essentially, the lifespan of salmonella when it’s inoculated in common packaged goods. They focused on sandwich snacks, specifically cookies and crackers, which they are very conscious not to name – but seem pretty obviously some variation on Oreos and cheese sandwich crackers.
Salmonella proved perfectly able to survive for more than six months.
The study inoculated these goods with salmonella in two ways: one wet and one dry. Then the researchers dutifully checked in on the status of the salmonella in both the cookie/cracker and in the filling while it was standing at a sensible temperature. The findings are sort of crazy: The fillings seemed to be more conducive to the survival of active salmonella than the cookie or cracker, and in that filling, salmonella proved perfectly able to survive for more than six months.
The researchers conclude, sensibly (though not with all that much insight): “The ability of Salmonella to survive for at least 182 days in fillings of cookie and cracker sandwiches demonstrates a need to assure that filling ingredients do not contain the pathogen and that contamination does not occur during manufacture.” And…sure, yes, salmonella is a monster of a bacterium that we should do our best to make sure is not in our food. But this study definitely should reaffirm the brute strength of salmonella, if nothing else.