Four Tips for Avoiding Salmonella Contamination
Published on 30 August 2019
Labor Day is a time to celebrate the American labor movement with parades, sunshine and barbeques. And while outdoor cooking and dining are great ways to commemorate the unofficial end of summer, they bring with them the risk of salmonella contamination which can crash your party.
Typically occurring when a person comes into contact with food contaminated by animal microbes, salmonella poisoning is considered one of the most common foodborne illnesses and can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration or serious illness.
Even though the symptoms of salmonella poisoning are not pleasant — they are the body’s natural defense mechanism to protect itself from bacteria.
To help prevent salmonella poisoning, Amy J. Reese, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology, shares her tips for staying safe this holiday weekend.
Store food at the appropriate temperature. Do not give harmful bacteria the chance to grow in their happy growth conditions. If your food is supposed to be served hot, keep it hot, and if it is supposed to remain cold, keep it cold. Use a food thermometer to ensure your food is a safe temperature.
Wash your hands. Salmonella outbreaks across the United States are becoming more common. This makes it critical for individuals to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before preparing food to prevent infection. In addition, household pets can be sources of bacteria, so it’s important for those handling food to wash their hands after interacting with pets to prevent harmful bacteria from spreading.
Do not cross-contaminate. Once you have washed your hands, wash cooking tools and serving dishes thoroughly with soap and water to reduce the risk of transferring potential harmful bacteria to cooked food or clean kitchen tools. If you use a fork to move uncooked meat on to the grill, use a different clean fork to move the cooked meat to your plate.
Be aware of where your food is coming from. While it’s great that more people are choosing to eat organic and purchase food closer to home, there is a greater potential that these types of foods can harbor more bacteria. Even though organic farmers are using fewer pesticides, it is still important to wash food thoroughly before consuming it to get rid of any potential harmful bacteria.