There’s nothing like a charcuterie plate that’s piled up with everything from prosciutto to parmesan, mustard to mortadella, and grapes to gouda. But before you dive into a spread at your next dinner party or at a summer barbecue this weekend, you need to know about the latest food-related outbreak that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating, especially if you’re over 65. Read on to find out which Italian-style meats you need to steer clear of at the moment, according to the CDC—or at least, prepare in a very specific way.
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Italian-style meats have made 36 people sick from Salmonella across the U.S., the CDC says.
The CDC released a serious warning on Aug. 24 saying they’re investigating two Salmonella outbreaks linked to Italian-style meats.
The commonality among those affected—36 people and counting—is that they’ve reported “eating salami, prosciutto, and other meats that can be found in antipasto or charcuterie assortments before getting sick,” the CDC says.
“No deaths have been reported, but 12 people out of the 36 who became sick had to be hospitalized,” the CDC warned on Twitter.
As investigators work to identify which specific products are contaminated and “determine if the two outbreaks are linked to the same food source,” they are urging people to proceed with caution around any and all Italian-style meats.
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People over 65 should be extra cautious around “all Italian-style meats.”
The CDC says that people who are at higher risk of developing severe illness from Salmonella are those 65 and older, people who have a health condition or take medicine that suppresses their immune systems, and children under five.
As a result, these people need to prepare their Italian-style meats very carefully at the moment. “Until we identify which Italian-style meats are making people sick, heat all Italian-style meats to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or until steaming hot before eating if you are at higher risk,” the CDC says. “Heating food to a high enough temperature helps kill germs like Salmonella.”
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The outbreaks have affected people in 17 sates.
Most of the affected patients are in California, where seven people have gotten sick. There have also been five cases of Salmonella in Arizona, four in Illinois, and three in Ohio.
The remainder of the states linked to the outbreaks have only had one or two cases reported thus far: Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The first Salmonella case dates back to early May and the most recent was reported at the end of July. However, the CDC cautions that “recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak. The true number of sick people in an outbreak is also likely much higher than the number reported. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella.”
If you’ve eaten Italian-style meats and notice any of these symptoms, call a doctor immediately.
Most people who get infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps anywhere from six hours to six days after eating contaminated food. While the majority of patients recover without treatment in a week, the CDC says to look out for severe signs of Salmonella sickness, especially if you’re high risk.
The CDC cautions that as they continue to investigate, if you’ve consumed Italian-style meats and experience any of the following symptoms, “call your healthcare provider right away.”
- Diarrhea along with a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
- Diarrhea that lasts for more than three days and doesn’t improve
- Bloody diarrhea
- Inability to keep liquids down
- Signs of dehydration, like not urinating, a dry mouth and throat, and dizziness upon standing
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