Simply put, Salmonella poisoning (also known as Salmonellosis) is an intestinal infection caused by bacteria that are transmitted through food. Salmonella can affect everyone but is especially dangerous for children and elderly people as well as anyone with weakened immune system.
After being infected the first symptoms start within 12 hours and can last for more than a week. Salmonella’s symptoms include abdominal pains, abdominal cramps, fever, diarrhea and more uncommonly vomiting. Good personal hygiene and proper food hygiene standards in your kitchen and while handling food can dramatically reduce the risks of Salmonella infection.
Raw eggs and undercooked food pose a risk for salmonella poisoning. (Image: noomhh / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Preventing Salmonella Poisoning
Salmonella is most commonly found in eggs, poultry and processed meat and can be sometimes found in raw meat, egg-based foods and rarely on some vegetables.
To avoid Salmonella poisoning, the most important factor is proper food handling. Foods sensitive to Salmonella, as mentioned above, should be kept separate from other types of food to avoid cross-contamination.
Needless to say, proper hand washing must be conducted before and after you come in contact with food that is prone to Salmonella.
Remember, cooking any food properly will kill the Bacteria that cause Salmonella so it is imperative that raw eggs, poultry and other foods prone to Salmonella must not come in contact with other foods, especially already cooked food or food that is supposed to be eaten raw like vegetables, before cooking.
Read more about proper food handling as well as other issues on food preparation in our excellent article “Food Preparation and Food Handling”
Also, proper stored food hygiene must be maintained all the times. Raw meat and poultry should not be kept outside the refrigerator for long periods of time before cooking them and frozen products must not be refrozen after they were thawed.
Read more about stored food hygiene in our relevant article “Raw and Stored Food Hygiene”.
Other health issues concerning Salmonella
Although not very contagious, Salmonellosis can still be passed from humans who are infected to the food they are preparing, which in turn can infect more people. Therefore it is strongly advised not to prepare food if you suffer from Salmonellosis and preferably eat pre-packed or processed foods until you are cured.
Typically all symptoms of Salmonella will cease within about a week as the immune system naturally combats it. On extreme cases or people with impaired immune systems Salmonella may cause severe symptoms and persist. If that is the case then consult your DP as soon as possible in order to receive medication with antibiotics that will kill Salmonella for good.