Date PostedDecember 5, 2013

Food Handler Safety: Salmonella Outbreak claims a Life

Salmonella can be serious and even deadly in some circumstances, which is one of the reasons why food handling safety is such an important issue which requires training and certification. The Food Handlers Certificate is a must for anyone in the food industry because deadly food outbreaks are a reality.

In Western Kentucky recently due to a Salmonella outbreak 1 person has died and 15 others were made sick after consuming food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. The source of the outbreak has not be narrowed down but health officials are investigating at the moment, it is believed to be something originating from a Mexican eatery.

The following information from explains more about the outbreak:

salmonella-cdc-406Hopkins, Webster, and Muhlenberg counties have reported illnesses, according to Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services. A genetic “fingerprint” associated with the outbreak has been linked to at least eight of the region’s Salmonella cases.

The state said that the Hopkins County Health Department is conducting the investigation to determine the source of the Salmonella. The department is collecting patient and food samples, but has not said how long it might take before the source will be found.

The three adjacent counties are located south and west of Louisville. Salmonella is a foodborne illness known for causing diarrhea, fever and vomiting.


This case is a wake-up call to those who think that food poisoning is not fatal. Although most cases are non-fatal, there are some situations which end badly especially if the patient is an elderly person, child, pregnant women or sickly person. These people have a compromised immune system which makes them more vulnerable to foodborne illnesses, an illness which a normal healthy adult may easily overcome in a few days may prove deadly for someone from this group.

Authorities suspect that this particular outbreak began at a Mexican restaurant and are looking into that theory.  For some reason Salmonella is the most rampant foodborne pathogen in The United States and most other parts of the world as well, yet it can be overcome with the proper food handling and preparation.

Certain foods need to be cooked to minimise the risk of them causing a food poisoning outbreak.  Cook chicken, minced or boned meats, hamburger, stuffed meats and sausages right through until they reach 75°C. Hot food should be served steaming hot above 60ºC. Frozen poultry should be defrosted properly either in the microwave or fridge before cooking. Always follow cooking instructions on packaged foods.

One of the highest risk foods is chicken. It is important chicken is thoroughly cooked and is handled properly so that it does not cross contaminate other foods. Cross-contamination can happen when raw chicken or its juices come into contact with any other food products, especially those already cooked or ones that will be eaten raw, such as salad vegetables or greens. It is surprising to think that this form of foodborne illness is so common yet it is so easily overcome.


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