According to Food Safety News website, 216 people who attended a Food Safety Summit in Baltimore this past spring were poisoned by the food served at that summit.
The report that was just released by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has determined that it was the chicken that was contaminated with Clostridium perfringens. Those who ate the chicken ended up with symptoms that ranged from diarrhea, cramps, nausea and vomiting.
While, in defense of the Food Safety Summit, this is the first time in its 16-year history anyone has contracted food poisoning, this incident is, nonetheless the definition of irony.
With the onset of spring comes the much awaited fresh produce. With it, however, comes the reminder that we need to make sure we follow safe food handling procedures to avoid contamination.
The recent and still ongoing salmonella outbreak linked to raw tomatoes, as well as last year’s outbreak that was linked to lettuce should serve to remind us that a few precautions will keep us and our loved ones safe.
For the most part, simple comment sense is all that’s needed.
Additional pointers concerning the current Salmonella outbreak linked to raw tomatoes
The Associated Press recommends the following:
CHECK YOUR TOMATOES
The Food and Drug Administration is advising people to eat only tomatoes not associated with the outbreak: cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached and tomatoes grown at home.
Preliminary data suggest that raw red plum, Roma, or round red tomatoes are the cause, according to the FDA.
“The best thing to do if you have those certain types of tomatoes, throw them away or take them back the grocery store,” says Karen Blakeslee, an extension associate in the food science program at Kansas State.
For other tomatoes, wash thoroughly and cut away the part that is attached to the plant and the button on the other side, says Julie Miller Jones, a professor of nutrition and food science at The College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn. That part can carry a foodborne illness because it’s a hard area and organisms can attach themselves to it, she says.
Cooking tomatoes at 145 degrees will kill salmonella.
INQUIRE AT RESTAURANTS
Ketchup and cooked sauces are not affected by the outbreak. And several restaurants are not serving tomatoes — on Monday, McDonald’s said it had stopped serving sliced tomatoes in its U.S. restaurants.
Blakeslee advises finding out what the restaurant has done in response to the outbreak.
If you are really concerned, tell the restaurant to leave the tomatoes off the sandwiches and salads, says Jones. She says even if you remove them once your order comes, the food could still be contaminated.
For further information on the current outbreak:
For further information on Salmonella: