The salmonella bacterium is typically found in poultry – especially chicken, raw eggs, unwashed fruit and vegetables and food which has not been prepared properly. It thrives in unclean kitchens and areas where there is poor hygiene and can also be found in water which has been contaminated by bird or reptile faeces.
Normally salmonella bacteria are destroyed during cooking at the correct temperatures. If food is not cooked to the correct temperatures, or is not stored under the correct conditions then contamination will occur.
The elderly, children and people with compromised immune systems e.g. cancer patients are at particular risk from salmonella. It is a highly infectious illness which can be spread by person to person contact, hence why outbreaks often occur in nursing and residential care homes, hospitals and nurseries.
In order to minimise the risk of salmonella poisoning, controls need to be put in place throughout the food pathway. The responsibility for providing safe food lies with everyone, not just caterers. Farmers, food manufacturers and distributors as well as those who prepare and serve food all have a part to play in maintaining a safe food pathway.
Steps have been taken in reducing the risk of salmonella in UK eggs and, as a result, the Food Standards Agency has recently changed their guidance. They now “will no longer advise against the consumption of raw and lightly cooked eggs by vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, the young or the elderly, provided that they are produced under the Lion code quality assurance scheme”. This advice however does not include those with severely compromised immune systems.
The STS Food Safety Standard: Protecting the Most Vulnerable is the only UKAS accredited food safety audit standard which targets the controls in place for specific food borne illnesses. Our experts will help you identify and manage the risks and put measures in place to protect your business, customers and reputation.
Call our team today on 01252 728 300 to find out what you need to do to prevent salmonella poisoning.