How to Avoid Salmonella

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In early February 2012, the Center for Disease Control, the federally funded disease prevention and control organization based in Atlanta Georgia, announced an outbreak of Salmonella poisoning concentrated in the New England states area of the United States. This outbreak, Salmonella Typhimurim strand to be exact, infected more than 20 people from various states in the Northeast and its origin has been traced back to raw ground beef purchases at a local supermarket chain. It seems as though the outbreak has been isolated in within this area of the country, but all consumers need to know the warning signs of Salmonella poisoning in the event they become ill after consuming food or beverages. If you experience any combination of the following symptoms, you should monitor yourself closely:  stomach spasms, spike a temperature, blood in stools, severe headache, and most notable is an  upset stomach/vomiting.

If the symptoms get worse, or you do not seem to get rid of them, you should contact your healthcare provider. In addition, if you are of a population with a weakened immune system, an infant, the elderly, those with mitigating health concerns, you should contact your healthcare provider as soon as Salmonella poisoning symptoms are apparent. Symptoms from this type of food born bacteria usually surface within a half day of consumption of tainted for food or beverage, but may take up to three days to fully manifest themselves.


Avoiding Salmonella Poisoning

To prevent Salmonella poisoning, one must understand some general facts as they relate to this type of bacteria. Salmonella is just that, a common bacterial disease impinging on the digestive areas of one’s body. Salmonella poisoning is usually not fatal but can wreak havoc on those infected with this bacteria. More often than not, Salmonella bacteria are found in raw meat or poultry and eggs. Other foods can become infected by coming in contact with a preparation area not properly sanitized, so it is imperative that anyone handling food, whether at home, in a food processing center, or a retail food establishment, be aware of proper food handling procedures.

Proper Refrigeration of meat, poultry, and eggs

Refrigerating your meat and egg purchases within a short period of time of acquisition will ensure safe products. It is wise to have your purchase to refrigeration time of such products be less than two hours. In summer months, that two-hour window of time is cut down considerably. Be aware, food should not be stored in a hot vehicle for any length of time. The heat intensity in a vehicle sitting in the hot summer sun will greatly increase the possibility of food born bacteria developing! If freezing meat and poultry once you are at home or at commercial food facility, remember to take proper precautions when it is time to thaw the meat for preparation for consumption. Meat and poultry must be thawed in the refrigerator and must be in some type of container to catch runoff/drips as it thaws.


Keep Work surfaces, Utensils, towels and sponges clean

Any item that comes in contact with tainted food or drink has the potential to be infected also. It is important that all food preparation areas and items are sanitized on a routine basis to guard against cross-contamination. Also, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after each time you handle raw meat, poultry, or eggs. Towels and sponges need to be sanitized as well and should be discarded when worn. These steps  will help prevent Salmonella and the spread of Salmonella.

Heating and Reheating Meat, Poultry, and Eggs   

Heat all food items thoroughly because the correct heating process will destroy bacteria found in the food. Make sure correct internal temperatures are reached before removing food from heat source. In addition, when reheating meat, poultry or eggs, make sure this desired internal temperature is reached too!


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