Prevention

Proper handling and cooking of contaminated food will kill the bacteria, and proper refrigeration and cooking methods for meat and eggs should be observed at all times. Eggs should be refrigerated and not used raw (such as in eggnog); children should not be allowed to lick batter that contains raw eggs. Raw chicken should never touch other foods or utensils during preparation, and cooks should wash hands after touching raw chicken.

Researchers have developed a bacteria mixture that, when sprayed on newly hatched chicks, blocks the growth of salmonella in their intestines. Industry and health officials hope it will cut down on the amount of salmonella found in raw chicken and lessen the threat of food poisoning from undercooked chicken. The product (Preempt) is made up of 29 healthy, nonharmful bacteria naturally present in adult birds. Newly hatched chicks sprayed with the mixture peck at their wet feathers and ingest the solution. The culture then grows inside the chicken and eliminates other microbes, preventing salmonella bacteria from attaching to the chicken's intestines. In tests of 80,000 chickens, seven percent of the untreated birds developed sal-monella—but none of the treated birds became infected. Farmers who use Preempt must not feed their birds preventive antibiotics that could kill the beneficial microbes. United States Dairy Administration (USDA) researchers say lab tests show the mixture also looks promising in the fight against other germs that infect chicken, including CAMPY-lobacter, listeria, and Escherichia coli.

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