Have backyard chickens? Wash your hands!
As readers of this blog should know by now, I’m a big fan of food safety lawyer Bill Marler, whose blog keeps me up to date on food safety matters.
He posted recently on a Salmonella outbreak caused by contact with backyard chickens.
The CDC keeps track of such things. By its count,
A total of 279 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from 41 states.
- 40 (26%) people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.
- 70 (30%) people are children younger than 5 years.
The CDC’s advice:
I was interested in Marler’s account because I knew that he had backyard chickens at his place near Seattle.
Here’s what he says about that:
We have had hens in our backyard since just after the DeCoster egg debacle in 2010. I clean the chicken house about twice a month and the shoes and clothes I wear are removed before going inside. I wear a mask and gloves when I clean and either wash my hands well or take a shower. I do not pick up the chickens unless they are ill, and I wash my hands after I do. I wash the eggs and refrigerate then. They tend to get used within the week.
I do my best to think about the possibility of cross-contamination with Salmonella and/or Campylobacter. So far, so good.