Not-so-great news for all you turkey lovers out there: According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Reading has been linked to raw turkey products. Though Salmonella is commonly linked to food-borne illnesses, this specific outbreak has infected 90 people who consumed turkey products in 26 states. Of those 90 affected, 40 people have been hospitalized.
What’s Causing It?
So far, there is no specific product or company tied to the outbreak. The CDC and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are still investigating the matter. What we do know is that there have been samples of the same Salmonella Reading strain that caused the illnesses found in raw turkey products, live turkeys and raw turkey pet food. (Be sure to check the ingredients in Fido’s food tonight!) What’s more, the strain is multi-drug resistant. Luckily, cooked turkey has not been an issue—which is good news if you like to snack on lunch meat!
Since the outbreak has been so widespread, the CDC and USDA-FSIS are looking into the turkey industry a whole and deciding how they can work with representatives to reduce contamination.
Who’s Been Affected?
Though far-reaching, there have only been a few reported cases of food poisoning linked to raw turkey from each of the 26 states affected. (Minnesota is the only state to claim over a dozen cases.) This is still enough to raise a red flag in the CDC’s eyes. Here is the full list of states that have been affected:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
Remind Me Again, What’s Salmonella?
Salmonella is a bacteria that’s found in contaminated foods like raw meats, veggies and eggs (as we saw in the recent recall). It’s one of the most common causes of food poisoning, affecting 1.2 million people each year. Symptoms of a Salmonella infection typically appear 12-72 hours after eating the contaminated food and include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. These symptoms usually work their way out within a few days, but young children and elderly with weakened immune systems can experience more serious illnesses. Always contact your health professional if you are concerned about food poisoning.
How to Keep Your Family Safe
- When cooking any raw meat at home (especially turkey!), be sure to handle it carefully and in a clean workspace. Though we all love perfectly-tender meat, it’s important to cook your food thoroughly. Invest in a meat thermometer and use this guide for safe cooking temperatures.
- If you’re dining out be sure that you’re eating turkey that’s been properly cooked in a clean and safe environment. Food poisoning experts avoid these items.
- When it comes to your pets, the CDC recommends avoiding raw food—as bacteria like Salmonella can affect your pet and the person who is handling it.
Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to protecting yourself and your family from food poisoning.