Deadly Salmonella Outbreak Forces USDA To Recall Raw Turkey
Theres been a salmonella outbreak in raw turkey
The CDC is advising individuals to be careful handling raw turkey.
- Raw turkey, turkey parts, and whole turkeys have been linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak that has been going on since November 2019.
- The CDC did not issue a warning sooner because it has been trying to identify a source for the outbreak — which has so far proved impossible, as multiple facilities and products have been affected.
- For the moment, the CDC is advising that people use good food safety practices when handling raw turkey.
- Consumer Reports advises against serving raw turkey to your pets for the time being — remember, they can get salmonella, too.
As of July 11, 2019, the CDC has reported a multistate outbreak of salmonella linked to a variety of raw turkey products — including some raw pet foods.
Between November 20, 2019 and June 29, 2019, 90 people across the country have reported illnesses linked to a specific strain —SalmonellaReading — that has been identified via DNA fingerprinting techniques.
To date, 40 of these people have been hospitalized — but no deaths have been reported.
Most people affected have been in the eastern part of the US, although some have been further west — and also in both Alaska and Hawaii. Here's a map of the locations of people affected so far.
Why the CDC didn't make this announcement sooner
As you can likely recall from other recent outbreaks, many recent foodborne illness outbreaks were eventually traced to a limited number of identifiable sources.
Unfortunately, that's not the case with this outbreak — which is partially why the CDC delayed announcing the problem, according to Consumer Reports. There's no single source — or even a small handful of sources — of this particular outbreak. CDC testing has so far revealed traces of this pathogen in raw turkey products from 19 separate slaughter facilities, six processing establishments, and also in live turkeys in several states.
Take appropriate precautions when handling raw turkey.
Even now, the CDC is not advising people to avoid raw turkey altogether. Instead, the agency advises people to utilize safe food handling practices when working with raw turkey — including raw pet foods.
Dr. Sana Mujahid, manager of food safety research at Consumer Reports, advised that for the time being, you should avoid giving your pets raw turkey altogether because they can get sick from salmonella as well. Two Minnesota cases in this outbreak have been conclusively linked to raw turkey pet food — in pet owners who got sick after handling their pet's food.
Safe handling includes cooking raw turkey to an internal temperature of 165 F — use a properly calibrated meat thermometer to ensure your turkey is this temperature. Wash your hands properly and thoroughly when handling this — and all other — raw meats.
Also, never ever wash your turkey or any other raw meat or poultry before you prepare it, as .
Here's how serious this outbreak is.
Just be cautious. Sarah Schmalbruch/INSIDER
Consumer Reports spoke to Dr. Laura Gieraltowski, leader of the foodborne outbreak response team at the CDC. She said that so far, this specific strain of salmonella does not appear to be more virulent than other strains.
Some strains of bacteria the CDC tested did show signs of antibiotic resistance — but not to the specific antibiotics usually used to treat salmonella.
Keep in mind that with this instance — as in all cases of outbreaks — the CDC can only compile information based on cases that have been reported to them. Not everyone who gets sick will necessarily seek professional treatment, so it's difficult to assemble a complete picture of the people affected by any given outbreak.
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