Can You Kill Salmonella by Cooking? By Microwaving?

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There are many questions around Salmonella that people are asking. Can you kill salmonella by cooking? Let us look at the answers in this guide.

Salmonella makes people sick, and you may not be completely aware of this infection or bacteria. These bacterias are mainly responsible for food-related infections and food poisoning in people. 

This bacteria most commonly affects children or people with a weaker or compromised immune system. Older adults, babies, and people with AIDS are more likely to fall prey to this bacteria. These people also often develop the most severe cases related to Salmonella.

Can You Kill Salmonella By Cooking

According to the CDC, salmonella alone accounts for about 350 million dollars of medical expenses every year. The Salmonella pathogen affects humans and animals equally.

Each year the Salmonella bacteria results in 1.35 million infections, out of which 26,500 cases result in hospitalization. The majority of these cases occur due to bad water and food. People want to know whether they can eliminate this bacteria from their food while cooking or microwaving it. 

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Can You Kill Salmonella By Microwaving? 

Ideally, yes, you can kill Salmonella by microwaving it. But you have to be extremely careful while doing this as heat and summertime are the favorite time for this pathogen to grow and fester.

Warm weather promotes its natural growth. It creates an ideal environment for it to breed. This is why you should refrigerate food items vulnerable to Salmonella during summers. 

Only heat is not enough to kill Salmonella pathogens. So when you are microwaving the food, be sure that everything is reheated to the ideal and same internal temperature. People often make the mistake of heating their food inconsistently in a microwave.

Due to this, there are still cold spots left on the food article that becomes the spot for the bacteria to breed. 

There are ways to prevent this from happening, such as following the instructions for different food items as suggested by the microwave guide. The second method is to check every item you have heated with a special food thermometer. This thermometer will indicate the correct internal temperature of your food. 

Can You Kill Salmonella By Cooking

Can You Kill Salmonella By Cooking?

A short and simple answer to this question is yes. Yes, you can kill the Salmonella bacteria by cooking. However, you have to make sure that you follow the right type of cooking to kill this bacteria. 

Recently the outbreaks of this condition have been very frequent, due to which there is some panic among people. If you want to avoid this bacteria from getting into your system, you need to be very careful with what you are eating and putting in your system. 

For instance, if you know that you have recalled chicken breasts, you should not cook them anyway. You should immediately throw away or return such meat from where you purchased it. 

Such food can contain high traces of Salmonella or other food-related bacteria. You need to cook your food, such as poultry, meat, vegetables, and so on, thoroughly to ensure that you want to kill the bacteria. 

Can You Kill Salmonella By Cooking

Ideal Cooking Temperature to Kill Salmonella

It is essential to cook your food at a certain temperature for a certain amount of time if you want to kill all the bacteria. As a general rule of thumb, you should cook all food items to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill Salmonella. 

You can make sure that your food is at the right temperature by using a meat thermometer. This thermometer will allow you to check the internal temperature.  

You need to take extra care while cooking ground meat such as beef, pork, veal, chicken, and turkey. This type of meat should always be cooked thoroughly. If you want to kill bacteria like Salmonella, you need to cool your food to the right temperature. 

Salmonella is a bacteria or pathogen that lives outside the food. It can also be found outside vegetables that grow underground such as onions and carrots. 

Most of the pathogenic bacteria found in food live outside of the food. However, this doesn’t mean you can remove all these bacteria by just thoroughly cleaning the food. You will also have to cook your food to kill the contaminating pathogens efficiently. 

This bacteria can spread when you cut your food. It can get inside the vegetables and contaminate them. It is up to you to treat raw vegetables as carefully as you treat raw meat, as both these food items can prove to be significant sources of this pathogen. 

Can You Kill Salmonella By Cooking

You Need To Stop This Pathogen From Spreading Carefully

If you think that you are entirely safe from this pathogen just because you have cooked your food thoroughly, then this is not true. Cooking is not the only step. There are plenty of other steps before it that can spread this pathogen to your system. Activities such as cutting and plating the food are among such spreaders. 

It is quite possible that your tools such as knives, cutting boards, and other tools can also be contaminated with this pathogen. It is advised that you use a separate knife and cutting board for cooking meat, poultry, and ground vegetables.

After cutting and cooking these food items, you must clean and sanitize the cooking area as the shelves or the countertops may have come in contact with this pathogen while you were preparing for the meal. 

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How You Store Your Food Also Matters?

Do you have an organized refrigerator, or like many other people, don’t have specific places for keeping specific food in your refrigerator. The way you stock your fridge can also have a significant impact on your health.

The Salmonella pathogen, like other food-borne pathogens, can spread to other food items if you keep them too close inside the fridge. There is a risk of cross-contamination in the food if you keep such items close to each other. 

It is an excellent strategy to store meat and similar items on the bottom shelf of the fridge. You should also keep the raw vegetables separate from all this stuff. 

Can You Kill Salmonella By Cooking

Regularly Clean Your Inventory

Since Salmonella is a food-borne pathogen, it can also develop if you keep stale food around your house for a long time.

For instance, you know that you have some onions that are part of the recall or you are not sure about their source of origin, then you need to discard them as soon as possible. The good thing about 

Salmonella is not an airborne pathogen, so it will only contaminate other stuff when it comes in contact with them.

However, it can be easily transmitted through direct contact. So as long as you maintain sufficient distance between the food items in your refrigerator, then you don’t need to worry much. 

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About Salmonella Pathogen

According to a journal published by the food protection authority, there was research conducted on the thermal resistance of Salmonella. According to these reports, Salmonella is sensitive to heat, but the heat resistance of these pathogens can also vary greatly. If the heat from your microwave reaches the right temperature, then it can kill all bacteria, including Salmonella. 

For instance, you will find that Salmonella present in dried food is extremely heat resistant. If you also leave food items with traces of this pathogen at room temperature, they will become more heat resistant than the Salmonella in the refrigerator. 

There are other factors other than the heat that affect the thermal resistance of Salmonella, such as the acidity or alkalinity of the food items. The salt and sugar concentration in the food also has a significant impact on its thermal resistance. 

Can You Kill Salmonella By Cooking

If you microwave the Salmonella for more than two minutes, then better the chances of destroying this bacteria. A microwave with low wattage will also have a more negligible effect on this bacteria than a powerful microwave. The ideal internal temperature while microwaving your food is 165°F. 

Dealing with Salmonella also depends on how you are using your microwave. If you are using it to reheat food, you are generally safe as the bacteria should be dead by now. But if you are using the microwave for cooking raw food, you should heat your food at the minimum safe temperature for the minimum safe time. 

Here are some of the food safety guidelines that you should follow to keep your food safe from all the harmful stuff:-

  • 160° F is the ideal temperature for cooking ground meat. 
  • 165°F is ideal for cooking ground meat such as turkey and chicken. 
  • You should maintain a temperature of 145°F for fresh beef, lamb, veal, and steak. The rest time for such items is three minutes. 
  • 165°F is the right temperature for all poultry, including birds, wings, breasts, thighs, legs, and stuffing. 
  • Casseroles and the leftover food should be heated at 165°F.
  • 160°F is the correct temperature for heating and cooking all egg dishes. These dishes should be cooked until their yolk and white parts are firm. 
  • You should cook oysters, mussels, and clams until their shells open up. 
Can You Kill Salmonella By Cooking


Salmonella is a dangerous food-borne pathogen that stems from bad food and water. Thorough washing and cooking are some of the best ways to deal with this pathogen. You can eliminate this pathogen from your food by following the tips mentioned above. 

We hope you liked the information presented here and it helped you in understanding the right way to clean and cook your food to prevent salmonella from entering your home. If you have further questions, do not hesitate to ask us in the comments section and we will get back to you with a quick response.