Salmonella are a group of bacteria that is commonly found in the intestines of animals and birds. The bacteria can be transmitted to people when they eat foods contaminated with animal feces. Often, contaminated foods are of animal origin, such as poultry, beef, milk or eggs; however, all foods, including fruits and vegetables, can become contaminated.
People who eat food contaminated by Salmonella can become ill with salmonellosis. Symptoms of salmonellosis can include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps and fever.
Eating contaminated foods is the most common cause of infection with Salmonellabacteria. Contaminated foods could include raw or under cooked eggs or egg products, poultry, meat, raw fruit and vegetables.
You can also be exposed to Salmonella bacteria by not thoroughly cleaning surfaces that have been used to prepare raw meat and other foods in the kitchen, or if you have not properly washed fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them. Food handlers who have not thoroughly washed their hands after handling raw meat or after using the washroom can also contaminate food.
Safety & Handling
• Be sure to wash your hands before and after handling raw chicken.
• Make sure your work space is clean.
• The work area, cutting boards, and utensils must be thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water after being exposed and should not be used for other foods until properly cleaned. This will prevent cross contamination of bacteria from the raw chicken to other foods.
• I prep everything else I need before I handle the chicken, keeping my board and utensils free of cross contamination.
• When working with other foods at the same time as preparing and cooking chicken, be sure to use different cutting boards and utensils for the chicken.
• Do not use the same cutting board to carve cooked chicken as was used for the raw meat, unless it has been properly washed and dried before using.
Storing & Handling
• Raw chicken should be refrigerated and used within 2 – 3 days depending on the freshness of the product when purchased.
• Chicken giblets and ground poultry should only be stored in the refrigerator for 1 day.
• If you are storing for a longer period of time, the chicken products should be frozen
• It should be placed in a plastic bag to prevent any leakage from contaminating any other foods.
• When cooking and serving chicken, the meat must be handled properly to prevent contamination.
• Use a different platter and cooking utensils for cooked meat than what was used for the raw meat, unless they have been properly cleaned and dried after exposure to the raw chicken.
• Be sure the raw meat does not come in contact with foods that have already been cooked or foods that do not require cooking before being consumed, such as raw vegetables and fruit.
• If taking cooked chicken to be served at another location, be sure to pack the chicken so it maintains the proper temperatures. If you are keeping it hot, it should maintain at least a 140°F temperature and if it is cold, it must be kept at or below 40°F.
• Be sure chicken is cooked completely to eliminate the chance of foodborne illness.
• Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, careful not to hit the bone.
• Internal temperature should be a minimum of 165°F
• You can also check for doneness by piercing the breast and thigh with a fork and be sure the juices run clear
• If cooking a chicken that has been stuffed, be sure to check the stuffing for doneness. It should reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
• Do not stuff until just before cooking and remove immediately once it is done.
• Do not partially cook chicken and then store to complete cooking at a later time. The chicken should be cooked completely. Shown below are the temperatures chicken should reach for proper doneness.
• Raw chicken can be stored in a refrigerator for 2 – 3 days.
• If it is not going to be used within that time, it should be frozen
• Leftover cooked chicken should be wrapped tightly and refrigerated as soon as possible.
• Do not leave the chicken at room temperature for more than two hours. If cooked chicken is not going to be used within four days of cooking, it should be frozen.