Salmonella and Children: A Parent’s Guide
Salmonella is a group of bacteria that can cause illness and even death in humans. In June we gave you a crash course on these bacteria. A recent survey the USDA conducted with the International Food Information Council found that parents do not understand the risks associated with Salmonella:
- 46% of participants incorrectly believed that raw beef could not carry Salmonella;
- 42% incorrectly believed that food containing Salmonella could not be made safe to eat.
Children are at high risk of falling victim to Salmonella because their immune systems are still developing. Considering this new data and the hazard the bacteria presents to children, USDA would like to offer some simple tips you can use to protect your children from Salmonella infection.
Reinforce the Importance of Hand Washing
The friction of effective hand washing kills germs and bacteria, including Salmonella. Effective hand washing means scrubbing hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. If you’re having trouble getting your little one to wash for this full period ask them to sing the ABC song twice while washing.
Avoid Cake Batter and Cookie Dough
Kids might love eating uncooked cake batter or cookie dough, but they shouldn’t. Each contains raw eggs. Raw eggs may be contaminated with Salmonella and the only way to make them safe is by fully cooking egg dishes to 160 °F.
Salmonella is the most heat resistant of all foodborne pathogens. However, thoroughly cooking meats to USDA recommended internal temperatures kills all food pathogens. The only way to know if food is cooked to the proper internal temperature is with a food thermometer
By following these cleaning and cooking practices, you can cut down your child’s risk of falling victim to Salmonella.