Easy tips to help avoid salmonella

Creative CommonsSalmonella species growing on X.L.D. agar.

Most people enjoy entertaining and cooking for a crowd. However, there’s one guest you certainly do not want on the invitation list — salmonella.

Salmonella is common and can be found in many types of foods.

Salmonella can be found in raw or undercooked eggs, poultry and meat, as well as raw or unpasteurized milk and other dairy products. It’s also found in raw produce. Fortunately, prevention is fairly easy.

First, cook all foods to a safe internal temperature. Use a meat thermometer to help ensure foods get to the proper temperature. Poultry should be cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Buy and consume only pasteurized milk and dairy products. And finally, thoroughly rinse all fresh raw fruits and vegetables before eating.

While you’re in the kitchen, wash your hands before beginning any meal preparations. Wash kitchen work surfaces and utensils with hot, soapy water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.

Soap is just as essential in your kitchen as your cooking pans and spatulas. It’s a good idea to have separate cutting boards for fruits and vegetables and meat and poultry. And, speaking of poultry, don’t rinse raw poultry. This spreads germs around the kitchen and isn’t a food safety step.

It is important to recognize the symptoms of salmonella. Symptoms include abdominal cramps and tenderness, fever and diarrhea. Keep in mind these symptoms do not show up immediately. A child might show these symptoms of gastroenteritis in a range of 12 to 72 hours.

While you need to be careful with food preparation for everyone in your household, be especially vigilant when preparing food for younger children. Children under the age of 4 are four-and-a-half times more likely to acquire bacterial infections from food compared to adults. Taking the time to follow these guidelines will help ensure everyone stays healthy.