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Seasonal Salmonella Risk

By on December 23, 2014

Each year, roughly 1 in 6 people in the US gets sick from eating contaminated food.

Salmonella can contaminate more than poultry and eggs. It sneaks its way into many foods— ground beef, pork, tomatoes, sprouts—even peanut butter. Learn what you can do to make your food safer to eat.

Five facts that may surprise you—know the risks.

  1. You can get Salmonella from eating a wide variety of foods, not just from eggs and undercooked poultry. Although poultry and eggs are primary culprits, Salmonella can be found in a variety of foods including ground meat, fruits, vegetables—even processed foods such as frozen pot pies.
  2. Salmonella illness can sometimes be serious. In most cases, illness lasts 4–7 days, and most people recover without antibiotic treatment. But, in rare cases, people may become seriously ill. Compared with other foodborne germs, Salmonella is the deadliest. It also causes more hospitalizations as well.
  3. For every 1 case of Salmonella illness that is confirmed in the laboratory, there are about 30 times more cases of Salmonella illnesses that were not confirmed.
    Most people who get food poisoning usually do not go the doctor, and therefore don’t get laboratory confirmation of exactly what made them sick. So Salmonella can cause more illness than you might suspect.
  4. Salmonella illness is more common in the summer.
    Warmer weather gives bacteria more opportunity to contaminate food. When eating outdoors in the summer, either in the backyard or on a picnic, follow these guidelines:

    • Always keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.
    • When you’re finished eating, refrigerate leftovers promptly. Don’t let food sit out for more than 2 hours. On a hot day (90°F or higher), reduce this time to 1 hour.
    • Be sure to put perishable items in a cooler or insulated bag.
  5. You can get Salmonella from perfectly normal-looking eggs.
    Chicken feces on the outside of egg shells used to be a common cause of Salmonella contamination.


Keep you and your family safe by remembering to:

  • Clean. Wash hands, cutting boards, utensils, and countertops.
  • Separate. Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods.
  • Cook. Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature: 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming), 160°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry.
  • Chill. Keep your refrigerator below 40°F and refrigerate food that will spoil.
  • Don’t prepare food for others if you have diarrhea or vomiting.


Content for this article provided exclusively by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.