Salmonella outbreak warning

MARQUETTE — A small salmonella outbreak due to a rash of food-borne illnesses among county residents has prompted a warning from the Marquette County Health Department.

Salmonella is one of many food-borne illnesses such as E.coli, Campylobacter, Shigella and Norovirus, the release said.

“These infections tend to cause varying degrees of illness and may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and sometimes fever,” a MCHD press release states.

Many food-borne illnesses increase during the warm summer months as people picnic and have outdoor family gatherings, according to the release, which states guidelines for safe food handling in the summer.

• Avoid cross-contamination in your kitchen. Never allow foods that will not be cooked, like salads to come into contact with raw foods of animal origin. Some examples of where cross contamination could occur are dirty countertops, kitchen sinks or cutting boards.

“Wash hands after handling raw foods; kitchen work surfaces and utensils should be washed with soap and water and sanitized with bleach solution immediately after they have been in contact with raw foods of animal origin,” the release states.

• Monitor food temperatures, particularly when picnicking or traveling with foods.

“As a general rule, cold foods should be kept cold and warm foods should be kept warm,” the release states.

• Do not eat or drink foods containing raw or undercooked eggs. Examples include: undercooked eggs, homemade eggnog, hollandaise sauce and undercooked french toast. Eggs should be cooked until they reach 145 degrees Farenheight or until the yolk is solid. Pasteurized eggs are available in some grocery stores, according to the release.

• Never drink unpasteurized milk or cider.

• Cook food thoroughly, poultry 165 degrees Farenheight, beef and pork 145 degrees Farenheight, ground beef 155 degrees Farenheight.

• Remember that it is allowable for restaurants to serve items that include undercooked foods such as rare meat or runny eggs, as long as they warn you that the undercooked foods may make you ill. This information is contained in the “menu advisory.” When dining you should review your menu and be aware of items that may be undercooked. If unsure, ask your waiter.

• If you are served undercooked meat, poultry or eggs in a restaurant or at a gathering, don’t hesitate to ask that the food be cooked further. If you choose to eat undercooked meat poultry or eggs, you are placing yourself at risk of contracting a food-borne illness, according to the release.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.