By: Keeba Smith

Food poisoning or food illnesses are more common than people think.  Even with this knowledge, only a fraction of those illnesses are diagnosed and reported — which causes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to estimate the number food poisoning cases each through study results, surveys and statistical methods.

The CDC estimates at least 48 million people get sick from food pathogens in the United States.  That means roughly 1 in 6 Americans will be sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 will die of foodborne diseases.  There 31 known foodborne pathogens which cause foodborne illness.  The top five pathogens that contribute to a vast number of foodborne illnesses are norovirus, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter spp., and Staphylococcus aureus.

Food poisoning can happen to anyone, including celebrities, because they are regular people, too. Fame and fortune do not take the place of being careful and making sure your food is handled properly.  Here is a list of celebrities who at one point in their careers have suffered from food poisoning:

Steven Tyler

Aerosmith’s lead singer, Steven Tyler, has been in the music business since the 1970’s.  He is known for his high screams, wide vocal range and his on-stage acrobatics.  He loves to wear bright, colorful outfits with his trademark scarves hanging from his microphone.  He is included among Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers and in 2001, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his band.

Steven had battled drugs early on in his career.  He became clean and sober after completing a drug rehab program in 1986.  In 2011, he suffered a bad fall in the shower causing minor injuries and the loss of two teeth.  Many people thought drugs were involved, but it was later discovered the singer had severe dehydration from food poisoning.  He was taken to a local hospital in Paraguay where he was treated and released.  He had to postpone two of his shows while he recovered.

There is a higher risk of food poisoning in foreign countries because they have different standards in food preparation, storage, and serving.  There is an even higher probability of food poisoning when the food you consume is raw, undercooked, or cooked in an unsanitary condition.

William Shatner

William Shatner is the famous captain from the original “Star Trek” series and movies.  Now, he is the Priceline pitchman, who in 2012, got food poisoning on the opening night of his one-man show, “Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It” on Broadway in New York City.

It was his first return to theater since 1961’s production of “A Shot in the Dark.”  He told “Good Morning America” the next day that he had gotten food poisoning and could not really absorb the standing ovation and rave reviews like he would have wanted to.

Sir Elton John

Elton John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artist in the world.  He has over fifty top 40 hits and has received five Grammy Awards.  He was knighted in 1998 by Queen Elizabeth II.  His concerts are considered hot ticket items and sell out very quickly.

As famous as he is, the legendary pianist and singer is no stranger to tummy troubles.  In 2009, he had a serious E. coli infection which he was hospitalized for.  The next year, he had another foodborne illness which caused him to push back his concerts in Seattle and Portland.  Food poisoning also caused him to cancel two shows at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams is arguably the world’s greatest tennis player.  She has been ranked the world’s No. 1 tennis player eight times between 2002 to 2017.  She 23 singles Grand Slam titles and 14 double Grand Slam titles.  She made her professional tennis debut at the age of 14.  She is one of the most recognizable athletes of this time.

In 2016, Serena Williams showed the world via Snapchat why humans should not eat dog food.  While in Rome for the Italian Open, Williams sampled a spoonful of her dog, Chip’s, salmon and rice dog food she ordered from her hotel’s room service menu.  A few hours later, she became violently ill causing her to make several trips to the bathroom.  She did have enough time to recover and win her fourth-round match in two sets.

Why did she get sick from dog food?  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have much stricter health and safety regulations for human food versus dog food.  Many of the parts from animals and plants that the FDA woill not allow into human food are used in dog food.  Pet foods have various bacteria and viruses that can cause foodborne illness in humans.

Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert is a star in the country music world.  She debuted her first solo album in 2005 which went Platinum.  She has won several Grammy awards, including Best Country Album.  Several of her songs have made the Billboard Hot 100 Chart making her a household name.

In 2012, the singer posted on her Twitter account that she had suffered from food poisoning.  Apparently, after eating a shrimp seafood dish, she became violently ill and started vomiting.  She recovered by replacing her body’s vital minerals and nutrients with Pedialyte — which is a children’s re-hydrating beverage.

Foodborne Illness Does Not Pick and Choose

Remember, pathogens do not care if you are rich or famous.  If you eat something that is contaminated with enough foodborne bacteria, you will get sick. This is why good food preparation practices like sorting raw meats from ready-to-eat foods, handwashing, and cooking foods to their optimum cooking temperature are good practices to prevent illness.

 

Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/improvements-in-estimates.html

http://www.learn2serve.com/blog/3-celebrities-who-got-food-poisoning-in-2012/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2016/05/13/serena-williams-shows-why-you-should-not-eat-dog-food/#72c81a392a65