Current Suspected Overdose Deaths in Delaware for 2018: 231 logo

DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: October 15, 2013


Every food in the grocery store, farm market or restaurant has come through a series of steps, from field to factory, to reach the consumer. A variety of bacteria and other microorganisms can contaminate food in these environments and the home kitchen, causing illness. Bacteria are everywhere-in the soil, in saliva, under fingernails, on doorknobs, and on towels. Know your enemy to best defeat them.

Delaware's Division of Public Health has provided the following state statistics and information as a reminder that the following organisms can pop up in any kitchen:

Campylobacter 97 Bloody or watery diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, headache, muscle pain. Unpasteurized dairy products.
Clostridium botulinum 1 Severe abdominal pain, diarrhea. Improperly canned foods, garlic-in-oil mixtures, baked potatoes.
Cryptosporidium 15 Watery diarrhea, low fever, abdominal pain. Raw produce, chicken salad, green onions, raw milk, unpasteurized apple cider.
E. coli, Shiga toxin 13 Severe abdominal pain, watery or bloody diarrhea, vomiting, low fever. Raw meat, unpasteurized dairy and juice, apple cider .
Listeria 3 Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, meningitis. Deli meat, hot dogs, sprouts, queso fresco and other soft cheeses, unpasteurized dairy.
Salmonella 148 Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, headache. Linked to poultry, eggs, ground meat, fruits and vegetables.
Shigella 22 Abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, blood or mucus in stool. Contaminated produce, water, poor hand hygiene.
Staphylococcus enterotoxin 0 Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache, muscle cramping. Meats, poultry, salads made with mayonnaise, cream fillings, dairy.
Vibrio/cholera 22 Watery, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, low fever. Raw or undercooked shellfish.

Here are some valuable safety steps that prevent illness:

From the store Buy cold food like meat and poultry right before checkout. Separate raw meat and poultry from other food in your cart.
Defrost safely Completely defrost meat and poultry before grilling to cook it evenly.
Marinating Do it in the refrigerator, not on the counter. If marinade is to be used on cooked food, reserve some marinade before putting raw foods in it.
Transporting When carrying food to another location, use an insulated cooler with ice or ice packs to keep food at 40 degrees or below.
Keep cold food cold Refrigerate meat and poultry until use. Only take out the meat and poultry that will be cooked immediately.
Keep everything clean Don't use the same platter and utensils for both raw and cooked meat and poultry.
Precooking Precooking food partially in the microwave, oven, or stove reduces grilling time. Make sure food goes immediately onto the grill.
Serving Don't put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry. Any harmful bacteria in raw meat juices could contaminate safely cooked food..
Leftovers Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers.

Safe minimum internal temperatures:

Whole poultry 165 F.
Poultry breasts 165 F.
Ground poultry 165 F.
Hamburgers, beef 160 F.
All cuts of pork 160 F.
Beef, veal, lamb (roasts, steaks, chops) 145 F medium rare.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.