Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause an infection known as salmonellosis. In many cases, the infection is mild, causing gastrointestinal distress. However, some cases require immediate treatment with antibiotics. Foods made with ingredients from animal sources, such as eggs, can contain salmonella. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you avoid eating raw or undercooked beef, poultry or eggs. Eating undercooked brownies that have eggs could cause salmonella.
Most people with salmonella report symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. The illness can last up to seven days, and many people recover without treatment. However, young children, the elderly and people with compromised autoimmune systems may have severe diarrhea that requires hospitalization. If the infection spreads to the blood stream, doctors will prescribe antibiotics. There usually are no long-term consequences, but it may take several months for your bowel movements to return to normal.
The salmonella bacteria are found in the intestinal tracts of animals and humans. Humans usually get salmonella from eating foods contaminated with animal feces. These foods are usually from animal sources, but plants can also be contaminated with salmonella. Thorough cooking kills the bacteria. Food handlers who do not wash their hands with soap after using the bathroom can contaminate food. Certain pets, especially reptiles, can transmit the bacterium to humans. You should wash your hands after touching reptiles or birds.
Raw or undercooked eggs can contain salmonella. If you use eggs in your brownies, it is important that you do not eat the raw dough. You should also make sure that you cook the brownies thoroughly. Insert a toothpick two inches from the edge of the pan. If the toothpick comes out clean or nearly clean, the brownies have been cooked through. Although the toothpick test is usually adequate, you can also use an internal thermometer to ensure that the brownies have been thoroughly cooked. The internal temperature of brownies should be at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Consult your physician if you think you have salmonella. If you have diarrhea, it is important that you stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids. Other conditions can cause symptoms that are similar to salmonella. If you have been infected, symptoms will develop within 12 to 72 hours after infection. Always wash your hands before you make your brownies to prevent salmonella or other type of outbreak. You should also wash your hands after you handle raw eggs or meat.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Salmonella - General Information
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Salmonella - Prevention
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Salmonella - Diagnosis and Treatment
- Betty Crocker: Brownies and Dessert Bars FAQs
- FoodSafety.gov: Eggs and Egg Products