Salmonella is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. Each year, salmonella infections, called salmonellosis, sicken more than 1 million people. Up to 450 die from salmonella poisoning annually.
The common bacteria “can live in many animals, such as livestock, pets, reptiles, and sometimes humans,” says Alan Taege, MD, an infectious diseases specialist at the Cleveland Clinic.
Salmonella can be found in the intestines of animals, especially pigs and poultry, and it is spread through their feces. For example, if contaminated feces get into the water that’s used to irrigate crops, those crops can carry the bacteria to the market. Raw poultry can sometimes be contaminated with the bacteria. It can be spread throughout your kitchen if you don’t wash your hands, cutting board, and any knives or other utensils after you handle raw poultry.