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Salmonella Outbreaks That Sickened 20 People Linked To Meat Cooked On Home Rotisseries, Spits

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Thinking of roasting a home-cooked meal at the backyard? Health workers in South Australia are warning homeowners to take extra care as cases of salmonella due to backyard roasted meals are on the rise.

Last year, more than 200 people fell ill, and several people have pointed a common meal as the source and this year, at least 20 people reported becoming infected after partaking in group meals. Investigators identified that home roasted pig and lamb were the main causes of the salmonella outbreaks.

"The use of home rotisseries and spits is becoming increasingly common across the state as a fun way to feed large groups, especially with the weather warming up and people wanting to cook outside," Health Minister Jack Snelling said, but warned that in order to prevent food related disorders and infections, people should observe important steps in preparing and cooking a large animal this way.

Cooks should observe proper storage and handling of raw meat so that dangerous bacteria do not spread before the cooking process can begin. If there is no place for the homeowners to store the meat, it is advisable for them to make fresh purchase from the grocery or the butcher's as close to cooking time as possible.

The way the meat is cooked is also important, as meat needs to reach a particular temperature to be considered properly cooked and most probably free from infectious agents.

"Meat, particularly poultry, needs to reach a temperature of 75 degrees Celsius to be completely safe," said SA Health Director Dr. Fay Jenkins. If the cook is unsure of the meat's temperature, Jenkins advised them to check it until the juices run clear.

Salmonella food poisoning results from consuming contaminated or poorly prepared food. Symptoms for the infection include fever, headache, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.  

Salmonella can become a serious infection to others if left untreated and is very contagious, but if consumers and food handlers take care, salmonella can be easily avoided.

"As long as people follow these simple rules, combined with proper hygiene throughout preparation, cooking and serving, we can ensure that you not only cook a tasty meal, but a safe one too," Jenkins said.

 Photo: Ben Dalton | Flickr

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