Team Diarrhea cracks the Salmonella case

Amy’s originally from Minnesota. A French professor from Minnesota. That’s part of our shared humor.

So last December during break, we drove to Minnesota, with the dogs, and hung out with some of her extended family.

We also hung out with Team Diarrhea.

That would be the crack investigative unit at the Minnesota Dept of Heath, getting much praise in the past few days over their handling of the Salmonella in whatever-it-is outbreak.

“In less than two weeks, Minnesota Department of Health investigators traced the source of a mysterious salmonella outbreak that had stumped federal health officials for two months and sickened more than 1,200 people in 43 states and Canada.

The culprit: jalapeno peppers.

Federal officials had focused on tomatoes as the source of the salmonella, causing restaurants and stores to pull tomatoes and severely hurting tomato farmers in suspect areas.

While tomatoes haven’t been entirely cleared by federal authorities, attention has now turned to the peppers in what federal officials said was a major break in the case. The story says that a gee-whiz state lab, investigators dubbed "Team Diarrhea" and a unique approach to sleuthing illness contributed to the breakthrough.”

I gave them some Don’t Eat Poop shirts back in December, Hedberg took us to lunch, I came away  thinking, what a great model to do foodborne illness investigations, and to get students doing cool stuff. Guess the rest of the country is now appreciating the insights of Northerners.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time