By: Candess Zona-Mendola
With over 48 million reported cases of foodborne illness in the United States alone each year, it is likely that the rich and famous could also be among those effected. Last year, many celebrities and television personalities became food poisoning. Their stories publicized the harsh reality of foodborne illness – it is preventable and can affect anyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. To further illustrate this reality, UnsafeFoods gathered a list of the most publicized food poisoning cases of celebrities of 2016.
Even the most glamourous of American celebrities had food poisoning this last year. In August of 2016, reality television and E! star Kylie Jenner confirmed that she has fallen ill and was bedridden with food poisoning. Like Schumer, Jenner took to social media to inform her fans of her illness. In a series of raw, unfiltered, and make-up free Snapchat videos, Jenner commented “I went to the doctor again because I had food poisoning over the weekend and it has not been fun. So, that’s why I’ve been a little MIA or if my Snapchats aren’t as fun and exciting as they usually are. I don’t look sexy at all right now.”
In September of 2016, during a romantic getaway to Paris, Amy Schumer suffered a severe bought of food poisoning that resulted in hospitalization. Schumer, ever the comedian, posted a mock dating video and pictures of herself in the midst of sickness on her Twitter account. Once such post, with a picture of herself and her also sickened boyfriend, thanked Paris for their good times, but not the food poisoning. On Instagram, Schumer posted an unfiltered photo of herself dining al fresco with an idyllic view of the Eiffel Tower complete with a large sterling silver bowl of chicken broth. Schumer titled the picture “Trying to eat chicken broth post puke fest.”
Schumer told Ellen during her interview on the Ellen DeGeneres Show that, due to the graphic nature of her symptoms, she believed her relationship with beau Ben Hanisch, a furniture designer, was over. Complete with simulated machine gun noises to describe the diarrhea and vomiting she suffered, she commented:
“Neither of us had ever been to France, because we’re both trash,” Schumer said. “We go, we want to be romantic, it’s an intimidating city. But we had one of those hotels where the bathroom, when you’re in it, if someone goes [Coughs] you hear it loudly in the whole room. You could hear everything. And we both got violent food poisoning.”
Schumer joked with Ellen that she believed it would be impossible for her relationship to survive such a terrible bout, on a romantic vacation no less. As Ellen laughed, Schumer continued to joke:
“I knew it was over. I was yelling to him, ‘It was so great dating you, I wish you the best luck, you’re gonna meet a great girl. But I knew, I knew it was over. Who can get through that? I was like the fountain on ‘Friends.’”
Schumer was so light-hearted and hilarious about her sickness and the situation, that Shape Magazine chronicled her plight in an article titled, “The 4 Stages of Food Poisoning, According to Amy Schumer.”
Despite the hilarity of her story, Schumer and the media have been fast to note that food poisoning is no laughing matter. The Shape Magazine article interviewed Dr. Kevin Campbell and his stance on food poisoning. He commented “It can be a dangerous event and can result in severe GI symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea, which can result in severe dehydration.” Schumer confirmed that she was hospitalized due to dehydration from prolonged and severe vomiting. She has not commented what bacteria or virus was found to have made her ill. She also did not comment where or what she and Hanisch had eaten.
Star of the Disney Channel sitcom “Liv and Maddie” and The Rocky Horror Picture Show actor Ryan McCartan suffered food poisoning in October of 2016 when he was hospitalized on Halloween night. As with most celebrities, McCartan took to social media, this time Instagram, to chronicle his sickness, complete with a photo of him with an IV in his arm. McCartan commented on Instagram:
“This is how I spent my Halloween after a series of food-poisoning, dehydration and diabetes-related complications… Life is precious but fragile, and boy did I get that reminder! Grateful for an amazing sister, family, and friends who quite literally saved my life yesterday.”
McCartan, who has been a diabetic since he was six years old, is in the high risk group for people who tend to have more severe symptoms of food poisoning. According to FoodSafety.gov, diabetes can weaken the immune system. This makes a diabetic person’s immune system prone to foodborne illness because it “may not immediately recognize harmful foodborne pathogens increasing a person’s risk for infection.”
McCartan also did not inform his fans what type of food poisoning he had or what food he ate that could have caused it.
Movie, theater, and television stars were not the only ones stricken with food poisoning last year. Basketball player and Cleveland Cavalier’s forward Kevin Love purportedly lost ten pounds due to food poisoning he suffered in December of 2016. His coach, Tyronn Lue, told the media that Love believes his sickness came from “sea bass he ate on the team’s flight back from Charlotte… [w]hen I got the call from [Cavs head athletic trainer] Steve [Spiro], he said [Love] had lost 10 pounds and he was throwing up and whatever else I can’t say.” There have not been any other reports that other team members became sick from food eaten during the flight to Charlotte.
As with the majority of these stories, dehydration and high-risk conditions can be concerning and dangerous when one becomes ill with food poisoning. However, despite your health condition or the type of food poisoning someone may have, medical attention is always recommended of symptoms worsen or become severe.