FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)– Restaurants across Colorado typically take precautions to avoid poultry contamination as part of their everyday food safety routines.
No Salmonella cases have been reported in Larimer County but new information on the drug resistant strains connected to the outbreak makes food safety measures even more urgent.
Food prep during the lunch rush at The Silver Grill Cafe in Fort Collins can be a busy time and now even more attention is being placed on food safety.
“If we are working with raw product we designate a particular area to the chicken and we are continually disinfecting it,” said Silver Grill owner John Arnolfo. “We are very aware of the problem. It can be devastating to the public.”
With nearly 300 Salmonella cases and counting Arnolfo isn’t taking any chances.
“We make sure we go to greater expense to make sure we don’t cross contaminate,” said Arnolfo.
The USDA has issued a public health alert due to the Salmonella concerns but has yet to make an official recall meaning the tainted meat is still being sold across the nation.
“It’s also unusual that there is such a high rate of hospitalization and that the illnesses are not responding to the usual antibiotics,” said Colorado State University Food Safety Specialist Marissa Bunning.
Food safety experts say to stay safe always clean, separate, cook and chill.
“Anytime you’re handling raw poultry it’s really important to handle it properly and always cook it thoroughly,” said said Bunning.
Wash anything that’s been in contact with raw poultry including hands, utensils, cutting boards and counter tops.
Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, refrigerator and in the kitchen.
Cook poultry to a minimum of 165 degrees.
Keep poultry refrigerated and don’t leave at room temperature for more than two hours.
Food safety experts say as long as the poultry is handled properly and cooked thoroughly it should be safe.