Salmonella Safety Tips - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Salmonella Safety Tips

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WSIL -- A Hungry Man microwaveable dinner joins a growing list of products being recalled due to possible salmonella contamination. This includes Goldfish crackers, Honey Smacks cereal and pre-cut melon. 

Chris Neville, Produce Manager at Carbondale's Neighborhood Co-op Grocery, says the store has not had any recent Salmonella issues, "The companies that we deal with have a clean track record and haven't had any outbreaks, so there's not too much talk around here." 

However Neville and Bill Drew, the Co-op's refrigeration buyer, do have some tips on how to avoid getting sick from Salmonella bacteria.

Neville says it all starts with a little research, "Shop at a grocery store where the people are going to the farms and picking the produce and ensuring that it's from a safe environment."  

When it comes to grocery shopping, Neville says customers should put their produce in the plastic bags provided by the stores. "Once you pick up fruit or vegetables, they should be put in a plastic bag because it is possible that maybe somebody picked up a chicken and some drippings got down onto the cart," he explains. 

After the checkout line, it's important to keep meat, dairy and seafood items at the correct temperature. "Keep a cooler in your trunk, or back seat, with a little bit of ice or ice pack in it," Drew says. 

When arriving at home, Drew suggests storing meat and produce away from each other, "If you're going to be cooking what you brought home in a day or two, you're fine refrigerating it. But if you're thinking about having it later in the week, it may not hurt to stick that in the freezer." 

But Neville says washing fruits and vegetables is imperative, "I think one of the most common ways people my unintentionally spread salmonella is from not washing their melon before they actually cut into it. If there's bacteria present and you take a machete and cut through the water melon, you're actually pushing that bacteria into the meat that you're going to be consuming." 

For additional safety precautions, click here.

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