Food safety: How to make sure your holiday treats don’t make anyone sick


Several food safety alerts and recalls this season have made it difficult to know what’s safe to eat. Even though we can’t do much personally to control those national events except to pay attention and not consume recalled products, we can take some basic food safety actions, both as a guest and as a host, so we don’t add insult to injury. Nearly 1 in 6 Americans get sick each year from contaminated food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reducing that number by just 10 percent would keep nearly 5 million people from getting sick each year.

What is the most common cause of food poisoning?

There are more than 250 agents that can cause foodborne illness including viruses, bacteria, parasites, toxins, and foreign objects. Norovirus is the most common virus to cause food poisoning, while salmonella is the most common bacterial cause and results in more deaths than infections with other bacteria.

Are there certain foods we should avoid at gatherings?

Contaminated leafy greens, such as romaine lettuce, and undercooked poultry are the main culprits for foodborne disease. But illness can come from lots of different types of foods, including raw milk, raw eggs (as in eggnog), and undercooked meat. You should wash your hands with soap and water before and after preparing, serving, or eating food, and always cook foods to a safe internal temperature. Also, be sure to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before you serve or eat them. Continue reading


Idahoans warned not to consume products containing kratom because of Salmonella contamination

Idaho public health officials are warning Idahoans to avoid consumption of products that contain kratom because they could be contaminated with Salmonella.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Idaho Public Health Districts, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are collaborating on the investigation of Salmonella infections linked to the consumption of products containing the plant substance kratom.

More than 130 people from 38 states, including 8 individuals in Idaho, have been infected with Salmonella linked to kratom consumption. As of April 5, 38 individuals have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

Kratom is a plant consumed for its stimulant effects and is also used as an opioid substitute. Kratom is known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom and Biak. Ill individuals have reported consuming kratom as pills, powder, and in tea. Continue reading

Careful when you cuddle: Easter chicks and backyard poultry can carry Salmonella

031318PoultrySalmonellaEaster arrives early this year, on April 1, and some of you might be thinking about buying chicks or ducklings as gifts for the spring holiday. You might also be thinking about replenishing your backyard poultry flocks. Keeping backyard poultry can be a great experience, but before you make a purchase, you should know that poultry can carry germs such as Salmonella that can make you sick. Whether you are thinking about buying your first chick or are an experienced backyard poultry enthusiast, you should be aware of the risks of keeping poultry and learn how to help protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Continue reading

Be aware: Live poultry can carry Salmonella


It’s finally spring, Easter is April 16 and with that, many people might be thinking about buying chicks or ducklings as gifts or to replenish backyard poultry flocks. But in 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control saw the largest number of Salmonella illnesses related to backyard poultry ever recorded by the agency. With that in mind, it’s a good time for a reminder about the precautions to take so you and your children don’t get sick from poultry carrying Salmonella bacteria.  Continue reading

They’re cute, but Easter chicks, ducklings, and even adult chickens can carry Salmonella

Chicks and ducklings in local farm supply stores are a sure sign of spring. It’s time to establish or replenish backyard flocks. It’s also just before Easter, when some people may be thinking about giving baby birds to children as gifts.

This cute little chick could harbor Salmonella bacteria. Make sure you wash your hands after touching it.

This cute little chick could harbor Salmonella bacteria. Make sure you wash your hands after touching it.

But it’s important to be aware that all poultry can transmit potentially harmful bacteria to people who touch them. Public health and agriculture officials encourage people to be aware of the risks of Salmonella infection before purchasing poultry, particularly for the very young, the old, and those with compromised immune systems.

“Owning chicks and ducklings can be fun, but we want to discourage impulse buying of these animals for Easter,” said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, state public health veterinarian. “They grow into adults fairly quickly, and a long-term commitment to raising them needs to be in place. Those who raise backyard poultry should be knowledgeable about animal care and disease risks before venturing into that activity. Chickens and ducks can transfer potentially harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella, to anyone who handles them if precautions aren’t taken.”  Continue reading

Idaho health officials urge caution regarding recalled cucumbers: Idaho cases continue to be reported

Twenty-one Idaho residents with salmonellosis have been linked to the national cucumber outbreak, with public health officials concerned that people who are unaware of the outbreak could still become infected.

“We are concerned that not all Idahoans are aware of the recall and may have recently eaten or still have cucumbers involved with the outbreak in their homes,” said Dr. Christine Hahn, Idaho Public Health medical director. “If anyone has eaten cucumbers and suspects they may have Salmonella, they should seek medical attention immediately.”

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Idaho health officials warn of Salmonella illnesses linked by federal investigators to contaminated cucumbers

Eight Idaho residents with salmonellosis apparently were sickened by contaminated cucumbers, the Idaho Division of Public Health said Friday.

The affected Idahoans range in age from 2-82 and became ill between Aug. 3rd and Aug. 17th. One was hospitalized but has recovered. These cases appear to be part of a larger national outbreak linked to contaminated cucumbers being recalled. In addition, six other cases, not yet confirmed to be linked to the outbreak, are being investigated by Idaho public health districts. Since early July, 285 people in 27 states have been linked nationwide to this outbreak.

According to the California Department of Public Health, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego has voluntarily recalled all cucumbers sold under the “Limited Edition” brand label from Aug. 1 through Sept. 3 because they may be contaminated with Salmonella. The type of cucumber is often referred to as a “slicer” or “American” cucumber and is dark green. They were distributed to Idaho, Utah, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, and several other states.  Continue reading