Animal & Veterinary

Be Salmonella Safe!

  1. What is Salmonella?
    • Salmonella is a group of bacteria that can cause illness in people and animals.
    • Salmonellosis is the name of the disease people and animals get from salmonella bacteria.
    • Salmonella bacteria are tiny creatures that live in the intestines of animals (like turtles, snakes, lizards, frogs, salamanders, birds, and mice), and people.
    • Salmonella can contaminate a variety of foods, such as meats, eggs, milk, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and even chocolate and peanut butter.
    • The Salmonella bacteria can make people sick, especially young children, elderly people, and people with weak immune systems (like people with cancer).
    • Salmonella was named after Daniel E. Salmon, a veterinarian who studied animal disease for the United States Department of Agriculture.
  2. How do you get Salmonella
    •  People can get Salmonella by eating foods contaminated by human or other animal poop.  (For example, someone prepares a sandwich and does not wash his or her hands with soap and water after using the bathroom and then serves the sandwich to you.  This can spread the Salmonella bacteria to you.)
    • Eating raw or uncooked foods.
    • Children can get Salmonella by kissing or holding reptiles, baby birds, or other small animals.
    • People can also get Salmonella after touching contaminated pet food or pet treats.
  3. What are the symptoms of salmonellosis? 
    • In people, symptoms are diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.  Symptoms can start 12-72 hours after infection and can last 4-7 days. Most people get better with only drinking more fluids.
    • Some people (children, the elderly, and people with weak immune systems) are at high risk of bad infection and could die if they develop severe symptoms of Salmonella infection. 
    • Signs for pets include:  vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood), fever, not wanting to eat, not wanting to play, and laying around.
  4. How can you be Salmonella Safe
    You can be Salmonella Safe by remembering the following rules:
    • Wash your hands with soap and water after touching animals (especially reptiles, birds, or amphibians), raw meat, poultry, or pet foods or treats.
    • Cook poultry (like chicken or turkey) meat, hamburger, and eggs thoroughly.
    • Don’t eat or drink foods that have uncooked eggs or raw (unpasteurized) milk in them.
    • If you are in a restaurant, send back all undercooked meat, poultry or eggs to the kitchen and have them cook it longer.
    • Wash all kitchen work areas and utensils with soap and water right away after you have used them for cooking with raw meat or poultry.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water after touching reptiles (like snakes or lizards), birds, amphibians (like frogs or salamanders), baby birds, or any pet poop.
    • Keep reptiles (like turtles, iguanas, and snakes) away from babies, the elderly, or people with weak immune systems.
    • Always wash your hands with soap and water before touching a baby (for example, to feed it or change its diaper), especially after you have touched any pets or uncooked poultry or meat.
    • Wash your hands after going to the bathroom as well.
  5. What is FDA doing to keep me Salmonella Safe?
    To Keep you Salmonella Safe, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
    • inspects food production processes in the US
    • inspects foods that come to the US from other countries
    • makes sure that milk pasteurization plants are inspected
    • makes sure that restaurants and factories that make different foods use good food handling techniques
    • regulates how turtles are sold in the US, and
    • regulates how certain antibiotics are used in food animals.
  1. Who may I contact for more information?
    • CVM (FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine):  1-240-276-9300; 1-888-INFO-FDA; AskCVM@fda.hhs.gov
    • CFSAN (FDA Center for Food Safety and Nutrition):  1-888-SAFEFOOD (1-888-723-3366)
    • CDC (Centers for Disease Control):  1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636); cdcinfo@cdc.gov

Page Last Updated: 08/26/2014
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