When the weather’s warm, the germs grow!

In recent weeks frequent cases of infections caused by rare types of salmonellae have occurred in several federal states. Salmonelloses are frequently very serious diseases involving diarrhoea, often a high temperature, headaches and circulatory problems. They are mostly caused by food infected with salmonellae. In the case of these infections the germs had been transmitted to human beings from pork. The patients had eaten raw minced pork. Salmonelloses can be effectively prevented if the consumer refrains from eating raw foods of animal origin like meat and eggs or dishes involving the use of raw eggs. Minced meat should be thoroughly heated. If it is eaten raw, there is a risk of infection.

Salmonellae are ubiquitous. They belong to the group of zoonosis pathogens. Zoonoses are infections which are transmitted to man from animals and then can lead to disease. In animals like pigs or poultry the disease is frequently not discovered because in most cases the animals themselves do not manifest any symptoms of disease.

There are far in excess of 2,000 different salmonellae sub-types around the world; some of them frequently occur as the pathogens of disease. They include, for instance, Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Enteritidis. Others, like Salmonella Goldcoast and Salmonella Give, which have been detected as the cause, are very rare.

Many bacterial pathogens can multiply in foods when they are not correctly stored or processed. They include salmonellae. That’s why, steps must be taken to ensure scrupulous hygiene when handling foods and the right treatment and storage of sensitive products and foods.

Particularly at the beginning of the summer season, the following basic hygiene rules should be scrupulously adhered to:

  • heat meat, minced meat and fresh sausages thoroughly when boiling, frying or grilling them (core temperature in meat of 70 °C for at least 10 minutes);
  • do not store foods, which must be cooled, for any length of time outside the fridge;
  • keep temperature in fridge below 7 °C, in the case of very sensitive foods
    below 4 °C;
  • do not store sensitive foods for too long in the fridge;
  • always wash your hands after handling raw food, particularly food of animal origin to prevent any germs spreading to other products;
  • handle raw foods of animal origin and raw food (salad, etc.) separately;
  • thoroughly clean kitchen appliances (knives, chopping boards, worktops) every time you use them;
  • Maintain hygiene in the kitchen, regularly replace dishcloths;
  • Very important: Don’t forget to wash your hands!

Food infections caused by various types of salmonellae and their prevention are an important topic at the 5th World Congress for Foodborne Infections and Intoxications which begins today in BfR. The Congress is being staged in BfR up to 11 June 2004.

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