Have you ever heard of getting salmonella from eating cookie dough? Well, what exactly is salmonella? How does it make you sick? And how can you prepare your food in a way that you aren’t at risk of salmonella infection?
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella is a bacteria found in chicken, beef, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. Food contaminated with bacteria usually look, smells, and tastes regular, so it is difficult to know if it is contaminated. Therefore, it is important to know how to prepare your food safely.
The symptoms of salmonella infection can take some time to appear, anywhere from a few hours to a few days. They include diarrhea, fever, stomach aches, and bloody stool. While most people can overcome the infection, some can get severely dehydrated and may need fluids and antibiotics. Little children, older adults, pregnant women, and those with weaker immune systems are more at risk of severe symptoms.
How to Prepare Food to Reduce the Risk of Salmonella Infection
To avoid a salmonella infection, food should be prepared and cooked safely. You must ensure proper personal hygiene and handwashing for cleaning, keep all your utensils and kitchen surfaces clean and separate, and clean fruits, vegetables, chicken, meat, and poultry appropriately.
When storing food, you must keep different foods separate to avoid cross-contamination. Be especially careful with raw chicken, for example. Do not wash raw chicken in your sink and store it separately from cooked or ready-to-eat ingredients. Use different knives and chopping boards for chicken and for other foods.
Next, you need to ensure that all your food is properly cooked through. Eating food that is not cooked through is a big cause of salmonella infections. You should especially avoid eating raw eggs, incorrectly prepared sushi, and ceviche meats. Use a food thermometer to ensure that all your food is cooked to the right internal temperature.
Lastly, your food must be stored at the right temperature. Refrigerate your food two hours after cooking it, or one hour after in case it is very hot out. When food gets to a temperature between 5°C and 60°C, bacteria like salmonella can multiply much more quickly.
Proper knowledge and training on food safety can help you prepare, store, and cook your food in a way that prevents foodborne illnesses like salmonella. A food safety course can help you in gaining this knowledge. The Australian Institute of Accreditation offers an online food safety supervisor course in NSW that you may benefit from.