CDC investigates multistate outbreak of salmonella infections linked to raw turkey products | CraigDailyPress.com

CDC investigates multistate outbreak of salmonella infections linked to raw turkey products

Craig Press staff report

It's turkey time, and the CDC reminds consumers to be food safe.

Colorado is one of the 34 states in which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health and regulatory officials are investigating an outbreak of multidrug-resistant salmonella infections linked to raw turkey products.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service is monitoring the outbreak.

On Nov. 5, the last date of USDA-FSIS’s census, it was reported that 164 people were infected with the outbreak of salmonella reported from 35 states. Of those, 63 have been hospitalized, and one death has been reported in California.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates raw turkey products from a variety of sources are contaminated with salmonella and are making people sick.

A single, common supplier of raw turkey products or live turkeys has not been identified, which could account for the outbreak.

The outbreak strain of salmonella is present in live turkeys and many types of raw turkey products, indicating it may be widespread in the turkey industry.

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Ill people reported eating different types and brands of turkey products purchased from many different locations. Three ill people lived in households in which raw turkey pet food was fed to pets.

On Nov. 15, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales in Barron, Wisconsin, recalled about 91,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products.

CDC and USDA-FSIS have shared this information with representatives from the turkey industry and asked about steps they may be taking to reduce salmonella contamination.

In light of the outbreak, the CDC reminds consumers to practice safe food preparation when preparing turkey this Thanksgiving.

Always handle raw turkey carefully, and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. This outbreak is a reminder that raw turkey products can carry germs that spread around food preparation areas and can cause illness.

With the exception of the recalled Jennie-O brand ground turkey products, CDC is not advising consumers avoid eating properly cooked turkey products or that retailers stop selling raw turkey products.

Food safety tips for your holiday turkey

Food handling errors and inadequate cooking are the most common problems that lead to poultry-associated foodborne disease outbreaks in the United States. Follow these four food safety tips to help you safely prepare your next holiday turkey meal.

1 — Safely Thaw Your Turkey: Thaw turkeys in the refrigerator in a container, or in a leak-proof plastic bag in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes. When thawing a turkey in the microwave, follow the microwave oven manufacturer’s instructions. Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter. A thawing turkey must defrost at a safe temperature. When the turkey is left out at room temperature for more than two hours, its temperature becomes unsafe. Bacteria can grow rapidly in the “danger zone” between 40°F and 140°F.

2 — Safely Handle Your Turkey: Raw poultry can contaminate anything it touches with harmful bacteria. Follow the four steps to food safety – cook, clean, chill, and separate – to prevent the spread of bacteria to your food and family.

3 — Safely Prepare Stuffing: Cooking stuffing in a casserole dish makes it easy to make sure it is thoroughly cooked. If you put stuffing in the turkey, do so just before cooking. Use a food thermometer to make sure the stuffing’s center reaches 165°F. Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F and may then cause food poisoning. Wait for 20 minutes after removing the bird from the oven before removing the stuffing from the turkey’s cavity; this allows it to cook a little more. Learn more about how to prepare stuffing safely.

4 — Safely Cook Your Turkey: Set the oven temperature to at least 325°F. Place the completely thawed turkey with the breast side up in a roasting pan that is 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Cooking times will vary depending on the weight of the turkey. To make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F, check by inserting a food thermometer into the center of the stuffing and the thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat. Learn more about safe minimum cooking temperatures and how to use a food thermometer for turkey and other foods.

Take Care with Leftovers

Clostridium perfringens are bacteria that grows in cooked foods left at room temperature. It is the second most common bacterial cause of food poisoning. The major symptoms are vomiting and abdominal cramps within six to 24 hours after eating.

Clostridium perfringens outbreaks occur most often in November and December.

Many of these outbreaks have been linked to foods commonly served during the holidays, such as turkey and roast beef.

Refrigerate leftovers at 40°F or colder as soon as possible and within two hours of preparation to prevent food poisoning.