Salmonella: Frequently Asked Questions
Get Answers to Questions About the Salmonella Outbreak Tied to Mexican Jalapeno Peppers
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Does cooking kill salmonella?
Thorough cooking can kill salmonella. But when health officials warn people
not to eat potentially contaminated food, or when a food is recalled because of
salmonella risk, that means don't eat that food, cooked or not, rinsed or not.
The stakes are too high.
Besides tomatoes and peppers, what other foods may contain salmonella?
Any raw food of animal origin -- such as meat, poultry, milk and dairy
products, eggs, and seafood -- and some fruits and vegetables may carry
salmonella bacteria, states the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection web site,
adding that salmonella bacteria can contaminate other foods that come in
contact with raw meat and poultry. That's why thorough cooking and cleanliness
are so important in the kitchen.
What can I do to prevent salmonella infection?
It boils down to food safety. That
starts on the farm and goes all the way to your kitchen. The U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) has this advice:
- Consider using paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth
towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
- Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods in your grocery
shopping cart and in your refrigerator.
- If possible, use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for
raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Always wash cutting boards, dishes, countertops, and utensils with hot
soapy water after they come in contact with raw meat, poultry, and
- Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry,
- Cook foods thoroughly and refrigerate them promptly.
- Don't thaw foods at room temperature.
- Use a clean food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat,
poultry, casseroles, and other foods.
How does salmonella spread?
Salmonella can pass from human or animal feces to soil, fruits, vegetables,
water, or other surfaces. People usually get salmonella by eating contaminated
foods. However, salmonella can also spread through contact with pet feces or by
Reptiles are particularly likely to harbor salmonella bacteria, and chicks
and ducklings can carry them too, notes the CDC. The U.S. government bans the
small pet turtles because of salmonella risk.