Skip Navigation
  • Text Size: A A A
  • Print
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Tweet
  • Share

Crash Course in Salmonella

Food, Salmonella, Recall, Bacteria, Check Your Steps.

Foodborne illness is a severe public health issue, responsible for 1 out of every 6 Americans getting sick each year. The most frequently reported cause of foodborne illness is Salmonella infections. Every year approximately 42,000 cases of salmonellosis, an infection caused by Salmonella bacteria, are reported in the United States. Because many mild cases are not diagnosed or reported the actual number of infections may be over 30 times greater.

 

Salmonella 101

Salmonella bacteria live in the intestinal tracts of humans, animals, and birds. Salmonella infections in humans usually happen as a result of consuming foods contaminated with animal feces. Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal and are often of animal origin, such as beef, poultry, milk, or eggs. However, any type of food, including fruits and vegetables, may become contaminated with Salmonella.

Salmonella may also be found in the feces of some pets. Humans can become infected if they do not wash their hands after contact with pets or pet feces. Reptiles, such as turtles, lizards, and snakes, are more likely to harbor Salmonella. Many chicks and young birds also carry Salmonella in their feces. To prevent contamination always follow proper hand-washing procedures after handling any birds or reptiles.

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some more severe cases patients need to be hospitalized and prompt antibiotic treatment is required. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and can ultimately cause death.

Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. The rate of diagnosed infections in children less than five years old is about five times higher than the rate in all other persons.

Salmonella infections can also be life-threatening for:

  • pregnant women and their unborn babies
  • older adults
  • people with weakened immune systems (such as those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and transplant patients)

 

4 Easy Steps to Preventing Salmonella Infections

Preventing Salmonella infections requires practicing good food safety habits in our homes, and especially in our kitchens. Cross-contamination of edible foods is the most common way foodborne illnesses are spread in the home. Thorough cooking kills Salmonella and keeping foods at the right temperature prevents bacteria from growing and multiplying.

Practicing the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Services guidelines listed below will help keep any home food safe and Salmonella free:

- Clean

Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers or handling pets. Wash utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item. Consider using single-use paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

- Separate

Uncooked meats should be kept separate from produce, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods. Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood. If possible, use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.

- Cook

Thorough cooking kills Salmonella. Avoid eating raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat. Also avoid consuming raw or unpasteurized milk or other unpasteurized dairy products. Use a clean food thermometer when measuring the internal temperature of meat, poultry, casseroles, and other foods to make sure they have reached a safe minimum internal temperature:

  • 145 °F for fish
  • 145 °F for raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming.
  • 160 °F  for raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal
  • 160 °F for egg dishes/casseroles
  • 165 °F for poultry.  Stuffed poultry is not recommended. Cook stuffing separately to 165 °F.
  • Bring sauces, soups, and gravy to a boil when reheating.
  • Reheat other leftovers thoroughly to at least 165 °F.

- Chill

Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are above 90 °F). Freezers should register 0 °F or below and refrigerators 40 °F or below. Thaw food in the refrigerator or in cold water. Foods should not be thawed at room temperature. Foods thawed in cold water must be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature immediately after thawing. Marinate foods in the refrigerator. Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.

For more information about foodborne diseases, cross-contamination, food safety and contamination prevention "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov.

TaggedSalmonella | Outbreak | Food Prep | Bacteria

Post new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Comments

Submitted by aljwadh (not verified) on Monday, July 14, 2014 - 22:26
Uncooked meats should be kept separate from produce, cooked foods.
Submitted by Reena Ahlawat (not verified) on Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 07:39
Its great article thanks for posting this
Submitted by Franck (not verified) on Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 06:43
This page appears every time in the results of my research. I confirm that this proceeds from the quality of your publications. Thanks for sharing, it's more than helpful.
Submitted by Mariane (not verified) on Friday, July 4, 2014 - 03:52
Here is an interesting topic. Salmonellosis is act of a bacterial infection. It is a disease caused by enteric bacteria of the genus salmonella. Thanks for sharing, it was a great pleasure to read you.
Submitted by Jon (not verified) on Sunday, June 29, 2014 - 14:34
First year college students can be at risk of food poisoning when they are living away from home and have to cater for themselves, due to lack of information on proper food safety. Best advice would be for people to strictly follow preparation instructions on any food they are not sure of. Some inexperienced cookery can lead to a mistake in preparation though, even when people are doing their best to follow instructions. If only people would learn more about how to recognize when something has not been thoroughly cooked enough to eliminate any possible salmonella. Luckily, the web is available and wants people to get their answers.
Submitted by Chris B. (not verified) on Friday, June 20, 2014 - 01:45
How can one tell if one has a salmonella infection or something else like Norovirus? How do we know when to go to the doctor or when it is not necessary and home care will suffice? Perhaps this is answered elsewhere on your site and a reference link would be helpful.
Submitted by mahir (not verified) on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 17:52
usefull
Submitted by mc clark (not verified) on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 17:04
thanks for the very helpful advise. i am always educating my family about these isses,