What does it mean to have Salmonella in our food?

Each year, 1 in 6 people in the United States get sick from eating food contaminated with harmful bacteria. 

  • When 2 or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink, the event is called a food borne disease outbreak. 
  • In the last month, we have recalled food items that were contaminated with two different bacteria: Salmonella and E. coli.
    • Continue reading this blog to find out how Salmonella bacteria make their way into our foods.
      • Salmonella cause intestinal problems, called Salmonellosis.
  • For more information on E. coli, click HERE to see the previous blog post.

More than one type of Salmonella can infect us:

  • Salmonella enterica (we can pick up from animals; aka zoonotic Salmonellosis) live in the guts of humans and animals, including poultry and other birds, amphibians, and reptiles.
  • Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (is only found in humans).

We can pick up these bacteria from animals.

Eggs can carry Salmonella enterica.

  • Egg shells can pick up Salmonella from
    • poultry droppings
    • from the area where eggs are laid
  • Salmonella can also get inside the eggs BEFORE shells are formed.

At risk of serious salmonellosis are

  • children under 5 years of age
  • people with weak immune systems
  • people older than 65 years

These folks should NOT handle or touch amphibians, reptiles or their environment.

There are 4 steps to avoiding food poisoning at home: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill

  • Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs SEPARATE from other foods.
  • Store raw meat in original packaging in a meat drawer (or clear plastic bin)
    • on a lower shelf, to prevent cross contaminating other foods kept below, with fluids from meat.
  • Use separate cutting boards and plates for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.

Make sure foods are COOKED to a safe internal temperature.

  • You can’t tell by looking – use a food thermometer.
    • 165°F for all poultry,
      • including ground chicken and turkey,
        • and also for leftovers and casseroles
  • Clean the food thermometer with hot soapy water before and after each use.
  • If stuffing poultry, stuff just before roasting.
    • stuffing must reach 165°F
  • Food should not be tasted until it reaches a safe minimum internal temperature.

Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of eating out. 

  • Depending on how quickly or how often you will consume it, divide leftovers into smaller portions and in shallow containers, before refrigerating or freezing. 
    • Keep hot foods hot, at 140°F or warmer.
      • Use slow cookers, chafing dishes, and warming trays.
    • Keep cold foods cold at 40°F or lower.
      • Use small serving trays.
      • Replace often with fresh platters from the refrigerator, or
        • place serving dishes in bowls of ice.
    • It is okay to put hot foods directly into the refrigerator.
      • Leftover foods should be refrigerated within 2 hours of prep.
        • The refrigerator temperature should be at 40°F or below.
  • If food is left in a hot car, or at temperatures greater than 90°F, refrigerate within 1 hour.

Reheat leftovers to 165°F (74°C) before serving.

  • When you reheat sauces, soups and gravies, be sure to bring them to a rolling boil and stir well, so that reheating is even.

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