Why You and Goldfish Need to Call It Quits – For Now

Premier Health Now

Toddlers call them “fishies.” But you can call them “temporarily unavailable.” This week Pepperidge Farm issued a recall of four types of Goldfish crackers because they contain whey powder that may be contaminated with salmonella bacteria. Several varieties of Ritz crackers are also included on the recall list.

Premier Health Now asked Joseph Allen, MD, Vandalia Family Care, how to recognize the symptoms of salmonella (food poisoning) and when it’s smart to be concerned. Although salmonella is the most common foodborne illness, Dr. Allen says it typically doesn’t cause serious health issues “except for the very young, very old, and those whose immune systems aren’t fully functioning.” The vast majority of people can fight it off, he says, but suggests anyone with concern call their doctor for testing. Hospitalization is required in severe cases.

Salmonella symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and low-grade fever, which can last four to seven days. The biggest complication from the illness is dehydration, explains Dr. Allen, which is why it’s best to drink plenty of fluids if you think you’ve been infected.

Because salmonella is typically linked to raw meat, Dr. Allen says the Goldfish recall caught many health care professionals off guard. “It’s not something you would expect,” he says.

In most instances, salmonella can be prevented by washing hands when preparing food and by avoiding cross-contamination. “Don’t cut your veggies on the cutting board that you just used for raw meat,” he explains. But in this week’s Goldfish cracker instance, the only way to avoid the bacteria is to avoid foods on the recall list.