Food Safety Top Tips - Salmonella Advice
What is Salmonella?
Salmonellosis is caused by the Salmonella group of bacteria. It is commonly associated with outbreaks of Food poisoning in institutions and with social functions.
What are the Symptoms of Salmonella?
Symptoms include nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, muscle pain and headache. Illness will usually last around one week. Pregnant women, babies, the elderly and people with chronic diseases or compromised immune systems are at the most at risk of serious infection.
Who is at the most risk of Salmonella?
Salmonella infection is the second most commonly reported cause of infectious intestinal disease in the UK. It affects all age groups. Infants and young children, the immunosuppressed, the debilitated and people on broad-spectrum antibiotics are at greatest risk of infection.
How do you catch Salmonella?
Salmonellosis is caught by eating contaminated food. Infection is commonly linked with the consumption of poultry (especially chicken and eggs) although beef, pork, lamb and milk can also be affected. The consumption of raw or undercooked meat or meat products, poultry or poultry products and eggs; unpasteurized milk and dairy products are common causes of infection. Person-to-person spread also occurs, particularly within families.
How is Salmonella diagnosed?
It is diagnosed by examination and culture of a stool or blood sample.
How to treat Salmonella?
Most people recover without any specialist treatment. Extra fluids are important, especially if you have diarrhoea or vomiting. This is especially critical for babies, children, pregnant women and the elderly. Contact your GP if you are concerned about your condition.
When can you go back to work/school?
The following people should remain at home until 48 hours after the symptoms have stopped:
- Staff working in the food and catering industries
- Staff of healthcare facilities. Especially those looking after or serving food to infants or the elderly
- Children aged less than five years old who attend nurseries or playgroups.
- Older children or adults who find it difficult to implement good standards of personal hygiene eg. those with learning disabilities or special needs, or in situations where hygienic arrangements are unreliable.
How Salmonella be prevented?
- Hand washing is the most vital part of infection control. Wash hands thoroughly with hot soapy water before eating and preparing food, after handling raw foods, after using or cleaning chemicals, handling soiled items or having contact with animals or the soil. Once washed dry your hands thoroughly.
- Keep raw meat and poultry separate from cooked and ready-to-eat foods at all times. Never store raw food above cooked food in the fridge.
- Wash utensils, chopping boards and surfaces thoroughly with a disinfectant such, after preparing raw foods or eggs and before dealing with other foods to avoid cross-contamination.
- Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. Do not use cracked or dirty eggs. Eat eggs promptly once cooked.
- Eat cooked food immediately or refrigerate/freeze within 90 minutes of cooking it
- Meat and poultry should be well cooked. Cook poultry until the juices run clear and it is white in the middle. Cook meat until brown on the inside.
- Avoid unpasteurized milk or milk products; this includes dried milk.
How to prevent infecting other with Salmonella?
- Don’t prepare or handle food for other people until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours.
- If cleaning up diarrhoea or vomit, wash the surface with hot soapy water, before rinsing and drying. Use paper towels or disposable cloths should be used for cleaning.
- Clean toilet bowls and seats, flush handles, door handles and taps at least daily with a household cleaner.
- Wear rubber gloves when cleaning the toilet, cleaning up vomit or diarrhoea and loading the washing machine with soiled clothing.
- Do not share any towels, including hand towels, with other members of the family.
Salmonella and many other topics are covered in our Food Safety Level Two training. Click here to find out more.
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