Salmonella is linked to an estimated one million foodborne illnesses in the United States each year. It’s no wonder why: animals, including livestock, poultry, reptiles, amphibians, rodents and other mammals carry salmonella in their intestines. It can be spread through direct contact with animal feces or exposure through foods that have come into contact with infected animal feces. Surprisingly, salmonella can also contaminate fruits and vegetables through feces in the soil or water where they are grown.
Myriad preventative measures have been put into place over the years but they aren’t helping to slow the spread of this infectious bacteria. Best practices to keep yourself and others, especially those at higher risk, safe include:
- Cook poultry, ground beef and eggs thoroughly
- Do not eat or drink foods containing raw eggs, or raw milk
- Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces and utensils with soap and water immediately after they’ve had contact with raw meat or poultry
- Wash hands before handling food and between handling different food items
- Wash hands with soap after handling reptiles, birds (including baby chicks), and after contact with pet feces
- Avoid direct contact between reptiles and infants or immunocompromised persons
- Don’t handle raw poultry or meat and an infant at the same time
Food industry workers should be trained in food safety procedures to prevent cross-contamination and other food handling errors that can lead to outbreaks.Check out our infographic to learn more about the Bad Bugs Gang and how you can stop them from spreading.