U.S. health officials have announced a recall of raw turkey products they say is linked to an outbreak of Salmonella illnesses in multiple states, including one death.
On Nov. 15, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC, of Barron, Wisconsin, announced it is recalling more than 91,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products. The recall was triggered when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found a sample of Jennie-O raw turkey tested positive for Salmonella Reading – the same Salmonella strain linked to an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella infections that has sickened at least 164 people in 35 states, including one death in California.
The recalled turkey was sold in one-pound packages marked with the establishment number “P-190” inside the USDA mark of inspection. Packages have use-by dates of Oct. 1 or Oct. 2, 2018. The contaminated samples were from a batch of turkey products produced on Sept. 11, 2018. The rest of the products from that lot were shipped to retailers nationwide.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises the public to avoid eating, selling, or serving the recalled raw turkey. People should throw the products out or return them to the store where they were bought.
The CDC first announced the outbreak in July but until recently had been unable to identify the sources of the contaminated turkey. Investigators found the outbreak of Salmonella illnesses stretches back to last November.
Health officials have identified the same Salmonella strain in ground turkey burgers, live turkeys, and pet food, indicating that there are other potential sources yet to be identified.
According to the Associated Press, Jennie-O’s parent company, Austin, Minnesota-based Hormel Foods, said in a statement that government agencies have found the outbreak strain in 29 manufacturing plants from 19 companies.
With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching later this week, news of the ongoing outbreak and recall underscores the importance of safe handling and cooking practices for all raw whole turkeys and other turkey products.
Improperly cooked turkeys and cross-contamination can cause Salmonellosis, a bacterial infection with symptoms that include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.
If your Thanksgiving plans include turkey, the CDC urges you to carefully handle and cook raw turkey. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw turkey and clean any utensils or surfaces that may have come in contact with the turkey. Turkeys should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees when measured with a food thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the turkey.