Does Your Turkey Have Salmonella? Assume It Does

Irving Hamilton
November 16, 2018

The outbreak has sent 63 people to the hospital; one has died.

It's unclear where the turkey at the center of this outbreak came from, as there doesn't appear to be one centralized distributor, and the USDA is (somewhat controversially) not naming particular brands. Additionally, it is essential that people wash their hands after handling raw poultry, meat, and pet food to avoid cross contamination. If so, the CDC says the products should be thrown away or returned tot he place of purchase. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days and most people recover without treatment. The ongoing hunt has found the salmonella strain in raw turkey pet food, ground turkey, turkey patties, and in live turkeys, indicating "it might be widespread in the turkey industry".

Symptoms can include fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite that start within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated product. "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".

There are an estimated 1.2 million salmonella cases in the United States annually, and various foods are to blame for about 1 million of those illnesses, according to the CDC. A Minnesota company earlier this year recalled pet food with the same strain of salmonella.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number "P-190" inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The National Turkey Federation said its producers follow "comprehensive pathogen control programs" from the hatchery through processing that are created to reduce bacteria.

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Assume your turkey has salmonella.

According to the federation, almost 88 percent of Americans surveyed by the federation eat turkey at Thanksgiving.

The states with the largest number of cases are Minnesota (17), IL (16), California (13), NY (12) and Texas (11).

The products being recalled include 1-pound packages of raw, ground Jennie-O turkey and were sold nationwide.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FSIS and state public health officials, are investigating the Salmonella Reading outbreak. One child's infection resulted in a painful and serious bone infection, and the child was hospitalized, according to health department officials.

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