A Valentine’s Day Ode to Ella (the Infamous Salmonella)

by | Food | 5 comments

Publish Date: February 9, 2017

There once was a little bacilli named Ella,

who was of the genus (the infamous!) Salmonella.

She lived in the earth on a hot, humid farm,

in the shade of a cocoa tree, where she inflicted no harm.


Ella dreamed of her future, of chromosomal division,

of conditions just right for her binary fission.

She longed for the day when her dreams would come true.

She dreamed of colonization, of me, or of you.


One day on the farm came a fuss and a clatter,

and the cocoa beans fell, and then they did scatter.

Ella had to think fast, she could show no fright.

She attached to a bean, and with her pili held tight!


But poor little Ella was naïve and unsure,

of the upcoming rigors she’d have to endure.

Her cocoa bean was fermented (up to 51°C),

but Ella lived on (through encapsulation you see).


And then came bean drying in the hot summer sun,

followed closely by grinding and pulverization.

Her friends were not lucky, some did not survive.

(RIP Staphylococcus and Escherichia coli).


Next came heat treatment, a “kill step” they said.

This “roasting” was Ella’s demise, and now she is dead!

(Adequate pathogen reduction validated at log 4 to 5,

ensures that pathogens like Ella will not long survive).


But the laboratory workers, they had to be sure.

They had to confirm that their cocoa powder was pure.

So they screened with PCR and they cultured in a dish,

Because a pathogen free product was their ultimate wish!


They collected many samples, and those they scrutinized.

They incubated and tested, and they intensely analyzed.

The testing was negative; all results were “no detection.”

No pathogens were found after all this intense inspection.


So now on Valentine’s Day, a most wonderful time of year,

when you are inclined to give chocolates to your one special dear.

Bite into that delectable bon-bon or soft, creamy truffle,

and have confidence that Ella’s now gone (sniff-sniff, snuff-snuffle!)


Happy Valentine’s Day!


Written by Jane Johnson

Jane Johnson has been with the Microbiologics Technical Support Team since March 2015. Jane has 23 years of experience working in food microbiology as well as previous experience in medical and clinical microbiology. In addition to this experience, Jane previously worked for Microbiologics in Quality Control and Customer/Technical Support. Jane carries a degree in medical technology from the Medical Institute of Minnesota.

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  1. Sharon Bachman

    This is hilarious! Very creative, well done!

  2. Sue D. Monas

    Best poem ever!!!

  3. Teodoro Urbayan

    Love it! More! More! More!

  4. Lydia Crawford

    I love the poem.

  5. Ralph Johnson

    What a cute poem! Such creativity!


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