Which bacteria are responsible for causing the greatest number of food borne illnesses?
Without doubt, it is is salmonella.
It is the bacteria that can cause a gastrointestinal infection known as salmonellosis. Usually salmonellosis is referred to as “salmonella.” This infection can occur in humans and animals. Most people infected with salmonella are ill for four to seven days. The person may be ill enough to require hospitalization. Serious complications and death are rare and are more likely in the very young, the very old, and people who have other health problems.
Salmonella is commonly found in raw food products that come from animals, such as eggs, egg products, meat, meat products, unpasteurized milk, or other unpasteurized dairy products. Thorough cooking and processing effectively kills salmonella bacteria.
Most domestic animals, including ducks, cattle, dogs, cats, pet turtles and chicks have been found to carry and transmit salmonella. The bacteria also has been found in a variety of wild animals. Thorough hand washing after contact with animals is recommended to prevent salmonella transmission. Contaminated water is also a possible source of salmonella infection.
Some general guidelines for helping to prevent salmonella infections are:
• Always thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before eating, before and after preparing food, and after using the toilet, changing diapers, or playing with pets.
• Make sure all food products from animal sources are thoroughly cooked, especially poultry and egg products. Egg yolks should be firm. Meat and poultry products should not be pink.
• Do not eat raw or cracked eggs, unpasteurized milk, cheese made with unpasteurized milk, or any other unpasteurized dairy products. Leftovers should be promptly refrigerated and thoroughly reheated before consumption.
Information courtesy: Shugufta M. Zubair
Food Awarness Officer
Food Safety Department