It seems like every week, the Food and Drug Administration issues an alert about salmonella contamination in the food supply. You're told to avoid eating prosciutto and salami (we say they're always to be avoided anyway) or to ditch your dog's fancy food. Recent outbreaks of salmonella illness have been linked to contaminated fruit and vegetables, eggs, raw chicken, cooked shrimp and ground turkey. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates salmonella causes 1.2 million foodborne illnesses and 450 deaths annually in the U.S.
Where does it come from? Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of people and animals and spread to agricultural products through contaminated water or they're dispersed directly in food production/packaging facilities. Kids younger than 5, adults over age 65 and anyone with a weakened immune system are most vulnerable to severe consequences from the diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that the bacteria can trigger.
Although cooking kills salmonella, just bringing contaminated products into your kitchen risks spreading the infectious bacteria to other foods and surfaces and on to pets and people. Your best protection comes from:
-- Storing raw meat, poultry and seafood away from other foods.
-- Never rinsing off raw poultry before cooking.
-- Using separate cutting boards for raw meat and produce.
-- Never placing cooked food on an unwashed plate that's had raw meat on it.
-- Never eating unpasteurized raw eggs or unbaked cookie dough.
-- Washing your hands frequently, especially after changing a diaper, cleaning up pet feces or handling raw animal products.
-- Cooking meats/poultry to recommended temperatures. Check out www.FoodSafety.gov; search for "safe minimum cooking temperatures."
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.