The best defense against salmonellosis and other food-borne diseases is safe food handling. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has been trying to get that message to consumers. But changes in the food industry and Americans’ eating habits make the job challenging.
An estimated 76 million cases of food poisoning occur each year in the United States; 5,000 are fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For eating out, here are a few tips:
■ Shun any fresh-cooked food that doesn’t arrive at your table piping hot. Ditto for any cold food that appears lukewarm.
■ Pass up foods containing raw eggs — a common source of salmonella bacteria.
■ Order your food cooked to a safe internal temperature. The recommended temperature for a hamburger is 160 degrees.