Here’s one thing that doesn’t go with a granola lifestyle: Salmonella. That’s why the Quaker Oats Company has issued a voluntary recall of some of its granola bar and granola cereal products, according to a company announcement posted December 15 on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) web site. There is the chance that these products may have been contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, which could be bad in a bloody diarrhea or potentially worse type of way.
Quaker Oats has posted on its website a list of the products encompassed by the recall. This includes certain lots of different granola-based products ranging from their Big Chewy Bar ones to their Puffed Granola Cereal ones to their Simply Granola Cereal ones to different types of their variety packs. These products have been sold throughout all 50 States in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and Saipan.
The recall doesn’t cover all Quaker Oats granola products. So, if you are going granola in any way, cross-check the product’s name, Universal Product Code (UPC) and “Best Before” dates with this recall list to see if there is any correspondence. If you find your product on this list, consider the “Best Before” date to be “never.” Either discard the product or return it for a refund. This is not the time to be playing diarrhea roulette. Actually, there’s not real good time to play diarrhea roulette.
Diarrhea is one of the most common symptoms with a Salmonella infection but certainly not the only possible symptom. A Salmonella infection of your intestinal tract can result when you somehow swallow the bacteria. This typically occurs through contaminated water or food because its unlikely that people would deliberately eat something out of a jar labeled Salmonella. Not everyone with a Salmonella infection—otherwise known as Salmonellosis—will have symptoms. Symptoms tend to develop between eight to 72 hours after the bacteria has gone down your hatch. Besides diarrhea, which can be bloody—in a literal and not just a figurative sense—you will typically develop a fever and abdominal cramps as well. If you’ve got a healthy immune system then you’ll probably recover after a few days to a week of getting to know your toilet very well and won’t require any type of specific treatment.
When having diarrhea, it is important to pay attention to your fluid status and make sure that you keep drinking lots of liquids. After all, diarrhea is mostly water mixed with not-so-pleasant stuff. Otherwise you could end up getting very dehydrated, which could turn into a medical emergency.
Things could get much worse if the bacteria goes beyond your gut and into your bloodstream. This is more likely when your immune system is weaker such as when you are a young child, are an older adult, have some chronic medical condition or are on medications that suppress your immune system. Your bloodstream can serve as an Amtrak of sorts for this bacteria, taking them to all sorts of places like your joints and heart. In these other destinations, the bacteria can cause even more damage, which can turn into life-threatening damage.
The Quaker Oats announcement did mention that so far they’ve had “no confirmed reports of illness related to the products covered by this recall.” So, at this point, the recall is apparently being done as a precautionary measure. Keep in mind that you can’t detect whether a product has been contaminated with Salmonella. It won’t necessarily smell, look or even taste differently. And you’re unlikely to have any kind of special Salmonella sense no matter how sensitive you may think you are. The only real way to tell whether it’s safe to go granola is to go to the recall list and check it twice.