Salmonella contamination in turkey is widespread and unidentified

Marco Green
November 16, 2018

With Thanksgiving a week away, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to warn consumers about an ongoing outbreak of salmonella across 35 states that is linked to raw turkey. These items were shipped to retail locations nationwide.

1-lb. packages of "Jennie-O ITALIAN SEASONED GROUND TURKEY" with a "Use by" date of 10/02/2018. "7% FAT" with "Use by" dates of 10/01/2018 and 10/02/2018.

But the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, which is monitoring the outbreak, said in a statement that it would be "grossly irresponsible and reckless" to identify the brands or name the companies that operate the facilities "when a link from an establishment to an illness has not been made". It's unclear where the turkey at the center of this outbreak came from, as there doesn't appear to be one centralized distributor, the agency said.

Kroger and Meijer stores sell Jennie-O turkey.

These instances of salmonella poisoning killed one person in California and sent sixty-three to the hospital, according to the CDC.

The latest outbreak of salmonella poisoning began in November 2017.

Salmonella has also been detected in ground turkey, raw turkey pet food and live turkeys, an indication the bacteria is widespread in the turkey industry.

Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include fever, diarrhea, and stomach aches which develop 12 to 72 hours after coming into contact with the bacterial strain. Children under 5, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness from contaminated food that could lead to hospitalization. "It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the turkeys headed for our Thanksgiving tables do not harbor antibiotic-resistant bacteria that have caused human illness and death".

The CDC said that if you plan to handle raw turkey, make sure you are extra careful: Wash your hands after touching it. Cook products thoroughly to avoid getting sick. The guidelines include thawing frozen turkey on a plate separate from other foods in order to catch any liquid and contain any potential cross-contamination.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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