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. Im 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, Im 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 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 vomiting.
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.
Salmonella can be found in the feces of some pets, especially those with diarrhea. People can become infected if they dont 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 dont 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
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 washed.
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 illness.
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
- Its 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! Ill make sure to pass it along to my cousin.
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 Friday.
You can talk to a food safety expert by calling the toll-free USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. Thats 1-888-674-6854.
In addition, you can visit the governments food safety Web site at
Thats it for this week. Weve 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. Im Kathy Bernard, thanks for joining us for this episode of Food Safety at Home. And remember, Be Food Safe.
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 to
Thanks for tuning in.