‘Be the bug’ and beware cross-contamination

I routinely appropriate lines from popular movies.

When trying to explain the risks of cross-contamination and dangerous microorganisms moving around, I invoke the scene from Caddyshack where Chevy Chase explains to Danny how the universe works and “to be the ball.”

Be the bug.

Produce, pet food, pizza and pot pies — the bugs that make humans barf are showing up in wild and wacky places. And they move around. A lot.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control updated the ongoing outbreak of Salmonella infection, serotype I 4,[5],12:i:- linked to frozen mice fed to reptiles. As of July 29, 2010, 34 were sick from 17 states. Hundreds were sick in the U.K. last year from the same bug from the same supplier.

Pet owners, be the bug, and consider all the opportunities that bug has to move from dead, frozen mouse to counters, dishes, hands, and the environment. CDC says,

* Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after handling frozen rodents used as food for reptiles, or anything in the area where they are stored, thawed, prepared, and fed to reptiles.

* Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after handling live rodents and reptiles, or anything in the area where they live and roam.

* Keep frozen rodents away from areas where food and drink are stored, prepared, served, or consumed.

* Avoid using microwave ovens or kitchen utensils used for human food to thaw frozen rodents used for reptile feed. Any kitchen surfaces that come in contact with frozen rodents should be disinfected afterwards.

* Do not let children younger than 5 years of age or people with weakened immune systems handle frozen rodents.

Be the bug.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, barfblog.com retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 dpowell29@gmail.com 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time