|Script: Let’s Talk About
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety
at home podcast series. These podcasts were designed with
you in mind - the consumer - who purchases and prepares meat, poultry
and processed meat, egg products for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging
from safe storage, handling, and preparation of meat, poultry and
processed egg products to the importance of keeping foods safe during
a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to “Food Safety at Home.” I’m Kathy Bernard with the Food
Safety and Inspection Service. With me today is Nadine Shaw, technical
information specialist from the Food Safety Education Staff. Nadine
and I will talk about Salmonella and how to prevent salmonellosis.
Hello Nadine, welcome to the show.
Thank you Kathy, I’m pleased to be here.
A few years ago, one of my cousins got salmonellosis from something
he ate. What can you tell me about Salmonella?
Sure, Salmonella is a rod-shaped bacterium that naturally
lives in the intestinal tracts of infected animals and humans. It
can cause a diarrheal illness in humans called salmonellosis.
Typical symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever that can
begin within eight to seventy-two hours after eating contaminated
food. Additional symptoms may include chills, headache, nausea and
Symptoms usually disappear within four to seven days and many people
recover without treatment or visiting a doctor.
My cousin also has diabetes. Could that have caused him to be more
sick than usual and remain in the hospital longer?
Yes, it can, anyone can get sick but, Salmonella infections
can be life threatening, especially for people with weakened immune
systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease,
and transplant patients. Older adults are also at higher risk of
contracting foodborne illness, as are infants and young children,
pregnant women and their unborn babies.
How do people get salmonellosis?
As I mentioned, Salmonella lives in the intestinal tracts
of humans and other animals, including birds. It is usually transmitted
to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces.
For example, Salmonella can be found in the feces of some
pets, especially those with diarrhea. People can become infected
if they don’t wash their hands after touching an infected animal.
Reptiles, such as turtles, are particularly likely to have Salmonella.
People should always wash their hands immediately after handling
a reptile, even if the reptile is healthy.
People can also become infected if they don’t wash their hands after
using the bathroom.
Are certain foods most likely to make people sick?
Yes, any raw food of animal origin, such as meat, poultry, milk
and dairy products, eggs, seafood and some fruits and vegetables
may carry Salmonella bacteria.
The bacteria can survive if meat poultry, and egg products are not
cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature as measured with a
food thermometer, or if fruits and vegetables are not thoroughly
People can get salmonellosis through cross-contamination. For example,
when juices from raw meat or poultry come in contact with ready-to-eat
foods, such as salads.
The bacteria can also contaminate other foods, such as fully cooked
food that comes in contact with raw meat and poultry. Safe food
handling is necessary to prevent bacteria on raw food from causing
How can we prevent salmonellosis?
The key to preventing Salmonellosis or any kind of foodborne illness,
is to follow four simple steps:
- CLEAN: Wash hands and surfaces often
- SEPARATE: Avoid cross-contamination
- COOK: Cook food to a safe minimum internal
temperature as measured with a food thermometer.
- CHILL: Refrigerate foods promptly
- It’s also important to keep in mind that bacteria multiply
rapidly between forty and one hundred forty degrees Fahrenheit.
We call this temperature range the “Danger Zone.” Food should
not be left in the “Danger Zone” longer than two hours (one
hour if over ninety degrees Fahrenheit).
Oh, this is great information! I’ll make sure to pass it along to
Great. Hopefully your cousin will feel better soon.
You can learn more about Salmonella by visiting the FSIS Web site
at www.fsis.usda.gov or visit
us online for assistance from our virtual representative “Ask Karen”
at askkaren.gov. You can also
“Chat live” between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday through
You can talk to a food safety expert by calling the toll-free USDA
Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That’s 1-888-674-6854.
In addition, you can visit the government’s food safety Web site
That’s it for this week. We’ve been talking to Nadine Shaw a technical
information specialist from FSIS’ Food Safety Education Staff. Thanks
so much Nadine, for your helpful information about Salmonella
and preventing salmonellosis. I’m Kathy Bernard, thanks for joining
us for this episode of “Food Safety at Home.” And remember, “Be
Well, that's all for this time. Thanks for joining us today
for another episode of food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free
Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That's 1-888-674-6854.
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our
virtual representative "Ask Karen" at
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments
Thanks for tuning in.
Last Modified: April 7, 2010