Healthy Eating for Women

Salmonella: Causes and Prevention

Safe preparation and cooking can prevent this foodborne illness.

Salmonella is a mostly food borne bacteria that can infect your GI tract, causing diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fever, nausea and headaches, to name but a few symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that salmonella causes 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths in the U.S. each year, and older adults, children and people with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable. Foods that commonly lead to salmonella infection include undercooked meat, poultry, seafood and eggs; raw or unpasteurized dairy products; raw fruits and vegetables; and contaminated water.

Woman washing her hands in the kitchen

Prevent infection by washing your hands with soap and warm water before, during and after handling food. Thoroughly wash fresh fruits and vegetables before eating, and always cook meat and eggs to the proper temperature. Also, avoid cross-contamination of foods during preparation and in storage. In other words, don’t cut veggies on a board you just used to slice raw chicken, and don’t let meat juice drip onto your produce in the fridge.