ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A food safety expert has a warning about playing with baby chickens following a salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds across the country, including 18 in Missouri.
A hatchery in New Mexico which sells poultry by mail has been linked to the salmonella outbreak in 37 states. More than 300 people have been sickened, half of them children below the age of ten.
“In this case, a ban on sales is maybe not required but certainly much more awareness and talking about risk, as opposed to ‘oh look, it’s a cuddly little chicken,'” says food safety expert Doug Powell in an interview via Skype.
Powell calls baby chicks and little turtles “salmonella factories.” He says giving children chickens or other poultry to play with, from mail orders or any other source, is simply not a good idea.
“Any animal can carry these bugs, these bacteria, and they pose a risk. It’s a known risk and we should encourage interaction with animals but people need to be aware the risk is there and is always there,” Powell says.