CDC: Salmonella contamination of raw turkey products ‘might be widespread’

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Here’s a warning you’ll want to heed before you pop the turkey in the oven on Thanksgiving!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is out with a new caution about Salmonella posing a real danger this year across a wide variety of raw turkey products.

RELATED: More Honey, less money: 7 ways to save on Honey Baked Ham

Dangers from live turkeys, ground turkey, turkey patties and even raw turkey pet food 

According to a November 8 media statement, the CDC says 164 people were sickened across 35 states from November 2017 through October 2018 after consuming undercooked turkey products tainted by Salmonella.

Many of those who fell ill had to be hospitalized. In one case, a person in California died because of the food-borne pathogen.

The most common scenario after eating tainted raw turkey product is that you’ll develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps about 12 to 72 hours after a meal.

Symptoms often clear up in about a week, although the illness may be prolonged in some cases. Those with weakened immune systems — like children under 5 and the elderly — are at greatest risk of more serious illness.

Unfortunately, the CDC has not been able to identify a single supplier of raw turkey products and live turkeys that have been making people ill.

“The outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading has been identified in various raw turkey products, including ground turkey and turkey patties,” the CDC notes. “The outbreak strain has also been found in raw turkey pet food and live turkeys, indicating it might be widespread in the turkey industry.”

To be clear, the CDC is not saying you should skip eating raw turkey or live turkeys this holiday season. What they are saying is to take these precautions seriously:

  • Thaw raw turkey in the fridge, not on the kitchen countertop.
  • Minimize the spread of germs by not washing raw turkey before cooking.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw turkey.
  • Clean all utensils, cutting boards, counters, etc., thoroughly as well.
  • Cook all raw turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. And don’t just guess about temperature; use a meat thermometer.
  • Remember to reheat all leftovers to 165 degrees, too!

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the New York Times #1 bestseller Living Large in Lean Times. As a single widowed parent of two young children, he strives to bring unique savings tips to men and women like him who must face life without their spouses. He can be reached at [email protected]
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