Start at home to help fight foodborne illness

European Union member countries recently released data on foodborne outbreaks in Europe in 2016. Results showed that 205 of the 521 “strong-evidence” outbreaks, or 39%, were caused by the consumption of food in private homes. The number of outbreaks linked to food consumed in homes far exceeded the number of outbreaks linked to food in restaurants, 25%. Other communal settings such as lunchrooms in schools, nursing homes, and hospitals were found to be responsible for 87 outbreaks, or 16% of the total number.

Outbreak investigations showed that the major sources of disease were meat and meat products, in particular poultry meat, which accounted for 126 outbreaks, or 24%. Mixed food and buffet meals were responsible for 85 outbreaks, eggs and egg products for 72 outbreaks, fish and fisheries for 70 outbreaks, and milk and milk products for 45 outbreaks.

Although vegetables, fruits, cereals, sprouted seeds, herbs and spices and their products made a much less significant contribution to the foodborne illness outbreak situation in Europe, with a total of 34 outbreaks, they should not be ignored.  Fresh produce has been increasingly linked to foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States, as well as in Europe.

Overall, Salmonella was the dominant pathogen reported by European Union Member States. Salmonella is also one of the top 5 pathogens in the United States linked to reported foodborne illnesses. With most of the illnesses in the EU report linked to food eaten at  home, what can you keep your family safe from Salmonella?

  • Avoid eating high-risk foods, including raw or lightly cooked eggs, undercooked ground beef or poultry, and unpasteurized milk
  • Keep food properly refrigerated before cooking
  • Clean hands with soap and warm water before handling food. Clean surfaces before preparing food on them.
  • Separate cooked foods from ready-to-eat foods. Do not use utensils on cooked foods that were previously used on raw foods and do not place cooked foods on plates where raw foods once were unless it has been cleaned thoroughly.
  • Cook foods to a safe internal temperature. Use a meat thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to a safe temperature.
  • Chill foods promptly after serving and when transporting from one place to another.
  • Wash your hand after contact with animals, their food or treats, or their living environment

 

For more information on preventing food poisoning linked to Salmonella visit FoodSafety.gov   And stay food safe! Barb