Climate change has been a popular topic throughout the world recently and while we continue to learn about the harmful effects it has on our planet, one thing that we may not directly connect to climate change is our dinner. Yet, the Public Health Agency of Canada is now warning that climate change is and will continue to lead to an increase in salmonella outbreaks and other food-borne illnesses.
In the report that was released by the Public Health Agency of Canada, they warn that as climate change continues and worsens, it continues to change the climate variables such as temperature, weather events, ocean warming, and even human behavior. All of which will result in an increase of public health risks, the report says.
According to Global News, climate change is already starting to affect the food-borne outbreaks that have been plaguing the country this year. Warming air temperatures are a direct cause of climate change that much of Canada has been facing over the past few years. These warming temperatures can contribute to food-borne illnesses in a variety of ways.
Mainly, warm air temperatures mean that processing plants and consumers need to pay more attention to how they are handling their food. Warm temperatures allow for bacteria to grow quickly, which means better cleaning procedures will be needed as temperatures continue to rise.
Salmonella is one of the major food-borne illnesses that thrives in warm air. Researches expect that the number of salmonella outbreaks will continue to increase as climate change continues to worsen.
Canada has already started to see a rise in salmonella outbreaks over the past few years. Between May 2017 to March 2019 over 555 laboratory-confirmed cases of salmonella were reported across Canada.
Of course, salmonella isn't the only food-borne illness that we should be worried about as climate change continues to worsen. Global also warns that E. coli is another food-borne illness that will prosper from the stronger storms that will be hitting the nation from the increase in climate change.
With flooding and storm runoff, the water that is being used to water crops can often be contaminated with animal manure, which can lead to the spread of E. coli through crops such as lettuce.
Again, this is something that has already be seen throughout the year. Narcity reported on the massive romaine lettuce recall that occurred throughout Canada back in November 2018.
All romaine lettuce was taken off the shelves of grocery stores and restaurants refused to serve the vegetable as E. coli started to spread throughout the nation.
Seafood is also at risk as ocean temperatures continue to rise. These rising temperatures are allowing for bacteria to grow on certain sea creatures that if eaten, may make humans sick.
According to Global, an outbreak of this bacteria, Vibrio was already reported back in 2004 when oysters which contained this bacteria even though it was believed the Alaskan waters weren't warm enough to carry the bacteria.
As these temperatures continue to rise, these food-borne illnesses are able to grow and spread, which may result in an increase of illness throughout the nation.
Disclaimer: Cover photo used for illustrative purposes only.