Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sydney and Cole: Victims of Foodborne Illness

Working with victims of foodborne disease at  S.T.O.P, I’ve heard many stories about people that just break my heart.  But, the ones that hit me hardest are those involving children.  The story of two triplets, Sydney and Cole, who contracted Salmonellosis , shows not only the dangers of foodborne illness but also the great  strain and stress that can accompany a foodborne illness as a parent wonders what they did wrong. 
In late April, two-year old Sydney became very sick with a fever of over 105 degrees for days.  On top of that she was experiencing diarrhea which soon became bowel movements full of blood.  She couldn’t eat or stay hydrated and sharp, painful cramps kept her awake at night as well as diaper rash so severe that her skin was broken and blistered.  One week later, her brother Cole started developing the same symptoms.  Lab reports confirmed that both children had Salmonella.  Their parents are brother Michael were tested, and fortunately the tests came back negative, but Sydney and Cole had to be kept isolated from their brother and all other children so as not to spread the illness.  
This meant no birthday parties, no trips to the pool and no visitors at the house—total isolation for three months.  Finally in late June, the family learned that the Salmonella poisoning came from a snack food called Veggie Booty.  It was in a spice that Veggie Booty imports from China. Sydney and Cole’s parents had no idea that this supposedly gourmet and high-priced product located in the organic section of the grocery store was getting ingredients from China. They had truly believed they were buying safe, healthy snacks for their children.  While it was a relief for them to know that they weren’t responsible for giving their children Salmonella poisoning, they still felt the need to do something to make a change.  That’s when they contacted us at S.T.O.P. and asked how they could help.  S.T.O.P. educates families about food safety and smarter ways to handle and prepare food.  In the triplets case, we reiterated to them that this whole situation was not their fault.  
While we are working to advocate changes in public policy and prevent illness from foodborne pathogens, our work is far from done.  Until that day comes, people need to educate themselves.  Please sign up for our S.T.O.P. E-alerts, which provide timely information delivered right to your email about current food recalls and outbreaks. Sign up here: http://www.safetables.org/about/root_joinus.cfm


  1. It is important to know what we are eating. We need to know if a food is safe to eat. It is for our own sake because our health could be at risk if we are not going to be careful. ELISA kits could be use in detecting whether a food has a salmonella or not.

  2. Many times we don't know were food really comes from, and that is dangerous for our health, because the food could have a bacteria or something that damage our organism.

  3. Hi, well be sensible, well-all described