Salmonella

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

bacteria which are one of the commonest causes of food poisoning. There are many species, most of which cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain, and often a fever that may last for a couple of days. Usually the symptoms, although unpleasant, are not very serious in healthy people; but in the very young and old, and people with impaired immune systems, salmonella infection may be fatal. A related type causes typhoid.

Salmonella is carried by meats, fruit and vegetables, poultry, milk, and eggs: anything that may be contaminated by hands or equipment unwashed after faecal contact or cross-contamination. The bacteria are killed by proper cooking or pasteurization and, since they do not produce toxins, the material is then safe to eat. Poultry, especially frozen poultry, is often of particular concern for if it has not been properly thawed before cooking, the inside may not reach a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria.