Sources of Salmonella Poisoning
The CDC has just published a report on food safety, zooming in on Salmonella. In the past 15 years, the government and food industry have NOT been able to reduce the number of incidents of poisoning from this germ. Compare that to a 50% reduction in e-Coli infections.
1. Each year, roughly 1 in 6 people in the US gets sick from eating contaminated food.
2. Each year, 1 million people get sick from eating food contaminated with Salmonella.
3. Salmonella poisoning is directly responsible for $365 million in direct medical costs annually.
4. In 2010, 54% of the total hospitalizations and 43% of the total deaths related to food safety were caused by Salmonella.
This is the CDC’s explanation of why Salmonella is such a challenge:
- It is found in many different types of foods: meats, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and even processed foods such as peanut butter.
- Contamination can occur anywhere: from fields where food is grown to cutting boards in kitchens.
- What we eat and how we eat have changed: foods coming from one central location are widely distributed, meaning that sickness can spread quickly; we eat more meals outside the home; and more foods and ingredients come from all over the world.
- Some policies and procedures that can make a difference in reducing contamination take years to put into place.
The government is trying to implement more policies from “farm to fork”, but so far they don’t seem to be working for Salmonella infections.
What you should do to keep safe:
1. Separate. Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods. This requires frequently washing your hands and dishes while working in the kitchen to cook up a meal.
2. Cook. Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature: 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming), 160°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry. Most people don’t realize that pultry has to be heated the MOST!
3.Chill. Keep your refrigerator below 40°F and refrigerate food that will spoil.
4. Step aside. Don’t prepare food for others if you have diarrhea or vomiting.