Town Crier

The Centers for Disease Con­trol just issued new warnings in August about food safety which extends to all consumers. An antibiotic resistant strain of salmonella has been found in the United States, suspected to originate from some domestic beef and from unpasteurized cheese from Mexico.

Salmonella is a food borne illness that can cause nausea, vomiting, chills and fever. The new strain, salmonella Newport appears to be resistant to multiple tra­ditional antibiotic treatments, including azithromy­cin and ciprofloxacin.

The CDC is recommending that consumers be sure to look for the “made with pasteurized milk” label when purchasing any soft cheeses such as queso fresco. In ad­dition, it is suggested to cook any ground beef to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and cook any steaks or roasts to 145 degrees Fahrenheit letting them rest for at least three minutes before consuming, according to guidelines from the CDC.

The CDC also issued a re­commendation to not wash poultry before preparation. The notice states that wash­ing raw chicken actually spreads contamination to the sink and other preparation areas in the kitchen, where, for example, raw fruits and vegetables may be rinsed.

The CDC cites a study from the US Department of Agriculture which showed that surfaces, even after being cleaned, still retain­ed bacteria from the chicken. A video put out by the agency shows how rinsing chicken creates splashes that then could carry salmonella or other bacteria to other foods rinsed in the same sink, causing cross contamination.

The prevailing wisdom is that bacteria on poultry which is cooked at the proper temperature will be killed and the food will be safe. When taking raw meat out to the grill, use a fresh plate for the cooked meat, and be sure to wash any tongs or grill tools that were used to place the raw meat on the grill and clean them before handling the cooked meat.

It has also long been recommended to use different cutting boards for different items, such as raw poultry and vegetables so as not to cross-contaminate, and per­­forming frequent handwashing with soap and warm water is also recommended during the food handling process.

As with all foods, safe hand­ling is critically im­portant to maintain a hygienic and bacteria free condition.

Source: USDA and CDC bulletins August, 2019.

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