By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– The County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health reminds residents to protect themselves from illness caused by Salmonella by using proper precautions when handling and cooking poultry. Nationwide, between March 1, 2013 and October 11, 2013, a total of 317 persons infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg in 20 states and Puerto Rico have been identified. As of October 11, 2013 most ill persons 232 (73%) have been reported from California.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea which may be bloody. Most infected people recover within a week; however, some may develop complications that require hospitalization. Infants, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for more severe illness.
On October 7, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Inspection Service issued a public health alert warning consumers of illnesses caused by the bacteria Salmonella and associated with the consumption of chicken processed by three Foster Farms facilities in California. The California Department of Public Health has not requested Foster Farms to recall chickens because, with proper handling and preparation, this product is safe for consumption.
Proper handling and preparation tips to prevent infections from raw poultry are listed below:
Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling raw poultry.
Wash utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to prepare the next item.
Food contact surfaces may be sanitized with a freshly made solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water.
Separate raw meat 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 all raw meat.
Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat
Cook and Chill
Cook poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F as measured with a food thermometer.
Chill food promptly and properly. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within 2 hours (or 1 hour if temperatures are above 90°F).
For more information, contact the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health Communicable Disease Section at (800) 722-4794 or visit www.cdph.ca.gov or www.cdc.gov/salmonella/heidelberg-10-13/index.html.