Virginia Tech food safety expert offers tips for selecting the right charcuterie meats

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Whether it’s making a big spread for the Super Bowl or planning a Valentine’s Day meal, lots of people will be hitting the stores during these few weeks to stock up on food. One item many may consider charcuterie. A recent salmonella outbreak linked to charcuterie meat has raised some concerns, but Virginia Tech food safety expert Catherine Paraga-Estrada explains that not all charcuterie products are involved in this outbreak and offers advice on choosing the right meat.

What do people need to know before buying charcuterie meat?

If you plan to buy or eat charcuterie, make sure you don’t buy products from the brands involved in the recent outbreak until the recall is over. If you have these products in your home, throw them away and thoroughly wash and disinfect any surfaces that come into contact with the products.

For reference, charcuterie products implicated in recent outbreaks include:

Sample Busseto brand charcuterie

– There are prosciutto, sweet sopressata and dry copa

-Sold at Sam’s Club

– Comes in a twin-pack (2 x 9oz)

– Any lot code

Fratelli Beretta Brand Antipasto Gran Beretta

– There are black pepper coated dry salami, Italian dry salami, dry coppa and prosciutto.

– Sold at Costco

– Comes in a twin-pack (2 x 12oz)

– Any lot code

The duration of a CDC investigation varies depending on the outbreak and may be extended. Each time a person reports symptoms, it takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if it is associated with an outbreak. As part of your responsibility, you should be aware that additional brands may be involved in this recall.

How can people avoid it? Salmonella?

Salmonella is a bacteria that lives in the intestines of humans and animals and can cause a gastrointestinal illness and fever called salmonellosis. Salmonella can contaminate food or drinking water due to poor hygiene by employees who handle food or through cross-contamination from raw products, such as poultry products to cooked or ready-to-eat products. Each year, about 420 people die from salmonellosis and about 26,500 people are hospitalized because of this bacteria.

People can prevent getting sick with salmonellosis by following these recommendations:

Wash and sanitize your hands properly after touching poultry and reptiles, which are natural carriers of Salmonella.

  • When preparing food at home, be sure to wash and disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with Salmonella.

  • If you have children, elderly people, pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems in your home, make sure you cook all food, especially meat, thoroughly.

What are the symptoms? Salmonella?

Symptoms can develop within 6 hours to 6 days after eating contaminated food or swallowing the bacteria. While healthy people usually recover without treatment after 4 to 7 days, those with weakened immune systems, children younger than 5 and adults older than 65 may experience more severe symptoms that require treatment or hospitalization.

If you experience these symptoms, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking fluids and resting. Diarrhea can cause dehydration; If symptoms are severe (bloody diarrhea, severe diarrhea for more than 3 days, high fever (>102°F), vomiting, signs of dehydration), contact your doctor. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed.

About Parraga-Estrada

Catherine Paraga-Estrada joined the faculty of the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center and the Department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Tech in September 2021. Her extension work focuses on the understanding and application of food safety research through education, training and technology. Guidelines for safe and quality food production. In addition, she is an active member of the International Association of Food Protection, Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society, and Phi Tau Sigma Honor Society.

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