Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Norway eyes imported food, travel in rare Salmonella outbreak

Country hasn't seen a Salmonella outbreak since 2013; officials struggle to find current source

Norway, where Salmonella bacteria is rare in domestic livestock and locally-produced food, is experiencing its first outbreak of salmonellosis since 2013.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has not been able to identify the source of the Salmonella that has recently infected at least seven people. All seven report eating at the Joe & The Juice restaurant at the Oslo Airport recently while traveling.

Joe & The Juice, a Danish-born juice bar and coffee shop once found mostly in European airports, is opening location this year from San Francisco to Chicago.

NIPH is monitoring the outbreak to determine if it will be limited to the existing cases or if it will grow larger. The same DNA “fingerprint” for Salmonella typhimurium bacteria has been confirmed in all seven victims, suggesting a common source.

While the same airport restaurant connects the sickened individuals, their residences are disconnected, scattered throughout the country.

The NIPH investigation began in August when the victims began experiencing diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain. The typhimurium stereotype of Salmonella bacteria causes more severe symptoms than other Salmonella varieties.

Norway sees only about 1,200 to 2,000 Salmonella illnesses annually. About 70 percent of those are from infections contracted outside of the country. Most of the other infections are from imported foods.

Food produced in Norway and Norwegian livestock are rarely sources of Salmonella contamination. Some strains of the bacterium have become established among wild Norwegian fauna, particularly among small birds and hedgehogs. Every year, these Salmonella strains do cause instances of disease in humans.

However, a nationwide Salmonella outbreak in Norway in 2013 involved the serotype Coeln, sickening 26 people from age 2 to 81. A pre-cut salad mix was determined to be the likely cause of that outbreak.

More international travel and more imported foods are combining to keep Salmonella as the second most common diarrheal disease in Norway.

Salmonellosis is the illness caused by Salmonella exposure. It is food poisoning caused by the bacterium. There are many different kinds of these bacteria.

Salmonellosis spikes in the summer months. Children, older adults, and anyone with impaired immune systems are the most likely to have severe infections.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

© Food Safety News