Salmonella is a Gram-negative, motile, rod. It is non-spore forming and facultatively anaerobic.

The clinical disease of Salmonella infection is gastroenteritis. It is one of the main causes of foodborne illness the world over. Although death from salmonellosis is rare, it can occur in "at risk" groups, e.g. infants, the elderly and the immunocompromised (such as hospital patients). Although Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella typhimurium are frequently the implicated organisms in cases of salmonellosis, other serotypes have been involved in food poisoning.

The main source of Salmonella for man is food from infected food animals. These animals become infected via the environment, contaminated feed or water, or from other infected animals, birds or rodents. Therefore, meat, poultry, raw milk and eggs should be considered as potentially contaminated with Salmonella.

Types of foods involved in foodborne salmonellosis have been wide-ranging, but involve mainly poultry and meat products, egg and egg products, cereal and grain products, desiccated coconut, chocolate and dairy products.

Salmonellas can grow in the temperature range of 7º - 48ºC, however, growth is slow at temperatures below 10ºC. Pasteurisation and equivalent heat treatments will generally destroy the organism.

 

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