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Is Mayonnaise a Magnet for Salmonella?

There are bound to be barbecues a plenty this Fourth of July weekend. With this tainted tomato scare, I for one definitely have salmonella on my mind. I typically associate mayo with food poisoning, since people tend to leave this condiment, and the food it's added to, out for long periods of time.

I was relieved to read in the NY Times recently that mayo doesn't really deserve this bad rap. Since most commercialized mayo is made with vinegar or other ingredients that make it acidic, it's actually less likely to spoil. Phew! According to a study published in the Journal of Food Protection, mayo added to foods may even help to prevent food poisoning. The reason mayo may become contaminated is if it's not properly stored, if it's mixed with low-acid foods like seafood or chicken, or if the mayo is homemade.

Fit's Tips: If you plan on hitting a BBQ this weekend (or any other weekend for that matter), be sure the mayo hasn't been left out. Also, check the ingredients. Hellmann's, Best Foods, Miracle Whip, and Kraft all contain vinegar, so they're a better choice than homemade mayo when it comes to spoilage. Steer clear of pasta and potato salads containing mayonnaise that have been left out for more than two hours. If it's above 90° F, then one hour is the limit.


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