Quick Tips for Preventing Salmonella
More About Prevention
- Cook poultry, ground beef, and eggs thoroughly. Do not eat or drink foods
containing raw eggs, or raw (unpasteurized) milk.
- If you are served undercooked meat, poultry or eggs in a restaurant, don't
hesitate to send it back to the kitchen for further cooking.
- Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces, and utensils with soap and water immediately
after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.
- Be particularly careful with foods prepared for infants, the elderly, and
- Wash hands with soap after handling reptiles, birds, or baby chicks, and
after contact with pet feces.
- Avoid direct or even indirect contact between reptiles (turtles, iguanas,
other lizards, snakes) and infants or immunocompromised persons.
- Don't work with raw poultry or meat, and an infant (e.g., feed, change
diaper) at the same time.
- Mother's milk is the safest food for young infants. Breastfeeding prevents
salmonellosis and many other health problems.
There is no vaccine to prevent salmonellosis. Because foods of animal
origin may be contaminated with Salmonella, people should not eat raw
or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat. Raw eggs may be unrecognized in
some foods, such as homemade Hollandaise sauce, Caesar and other homemade
salad dressings, tiramisu, homemade ice cream, homemade mayonnaise, cookie
dough, and frostings. Poultry and meat, including hamburgers, should be
well-cooked, not pink in the middle. Persons also should not consume raw
or unpasteurized milk or other dairy products. Produce should be thoroughly washed.
Cross-contamination of foods should be avoided. Uncooked meats should
be kept separate from produce, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods. Hands,
cutting boards, counters, knives, and other utensils should be washed
thoroughly after touching uncooked foods. Hand should be washed before
handling food, and between handling different food items.
People who have salmonellosis should not prepare food or pour water for
others until their diarrhea has resolved. Many health departments require
that restaurant workers with Salmonella infection have a stool test showing
that they are no longer carrying the Salmonella bacterium before they
return to work.
People should wash their hands after contact with animal feces. Because
reptiles are particularly likely to have Salmonella, and it can contaminate
their skin, everyone should immediately wash their hands after handling
reptiles. Reptiles (including turtles) are not appropriate pets for small
children and should not be in the same house as an infant. Salmonella
carried in the intestines of chicks and ducklings contaminates their environment
and the entire surface of the animal. Children can be exposed to the bacteria
by simply holding, cuddling, or kissing the birds. Children should not
handle baby chicks or other young birds. Everyone should immediately wash
their hands after touching birds, including baby chicks and ducklings,
or their environment.
Some prevention steps occur everyday without you thinking about it. Pasteurization
of milk and treatment of municipal water supplies are highly effective
prevention measures that have been in place for decades. In the 1970s,
small pet turtles were a common source of salmonellosis in the United
States, so in 1975, the sale of small turtles was banned in this country.
However, in 2008, they were still being sold, and cases of Salmonella
associated with pet turtles have been reported. Improvements in farm animal
hygiene, in slaughter plant practices, and in vegetable and fruit harvesting
and packing operations may help prevent salmonellosis caused by contaminated
foods. Better education of food industry workers in basic food safety
and restaurant inspection procedures may prevent cross-contamination and
other food handling errors that can lead to outbreaks. Wider use of pasteurized
egg in restaurants, hospitals, and nursing homes is an important prevention
measure. In the future, irradiation or other treatments may greatly reduce
contamination of raw meat.