Protecting Yourself From Salmonella
by Susan Bloom / For The Star-Ledger
With salmonella causing 1.2 million illnesses in the U.S. each year, Aly Cohen, who practices rheumatology and integrative medicine in Monroe Township, recommends extra caution when handling raw meat and poultry. Cohen said it’s wise to assume that all packaged meat and poultry has bacteria in or on it and offers the following tips:
• Last on the list — “When you buy raw poultry or meat at the store, pick it up last,” she said. “The longer it remains in a refrigerated environment, the more it will avoid the growth of bacteria.”
• That’s a wrap — “Wrap raw meat or chicken separately to prevent those packages from contaminating other products.”
• Compromised carts — “A recent study showed that 13 percent of kids under 13 were exposed to bacteria from meat or chicken through the shopping cart, so keep meat wrapped and away from them.”
• Opt for organic — Though recent studies showed it contained the same bacteria as non-organic meat, organic cuts were found to have less presence of antibiotic-resistant super bugs.
• Avoid cross-contamination — “Designate a cutting board and knife only for raw meat or chicken in your kitchen so that there’s no cross-contamination and clean them well after each use.”
• Smart storage — Store meat on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator, which is the coolest spot and avoids juices dripping onto items below.
• Turn down the heat — “Don’t thaw frozen poultry or meat at room temperature — keep it refrigerated.”
• What’s in a name? — Don’t be fooled by antibacterial soaps, which contain triclosan or bactroban. “These chemicals promote resistance but can affect the endocrine system and have been linked to cancer in research on animals. Standard soap and water are most effective.”