A recent salmonella outbreak, which has affected almost 300 people in the United States, has been linked to contaminated raw turkey products.
According to the CDC, more than 279 people across the United States and District Columbia have fallen ill from salmonella as a result of raw turkey contamination. Among those cases, 107 people were hospitalized as a result. Reports claim that one person from California has died.
Salmonella poisoning is a painful infection that results from the consumption of improperly prepared poultry products. Symptoms of contracting the illness will occur within 12 to 72 hours after initial consumption and include fever, diarrhea, and severe stomach cramps.
Infected individuals will typically recover in a few days, but salmonella poisoning is particularly dangerous among people with weakened immune systems, including the very young and elderly. While between 5% and 10% of Americans are allergic to pet dander, anyone can suffer from the potentially fatal effects of salmonella.
The outbreak has even spread to popular pet food brands.
Some people had even fallen ill with salmonella as a result of feeding their pets raw turkey pet food. Minnesota pet food brand, Woody’s Pet Food Deli, had to recall products, but more pet food companies are expected to follow suit as the infection spreads.
As such, this recent contamination has been linked to a variety of sources. The salmonella outbreak has been seen in pet food, raw turkey for human consumption, and among live turkeys. This suggests that the infection could be widespread throughout the turkey industry as a whole and not linked to one single provider.
The CDC also reports that an estimated one in six Americans will get sick from ingesting contaminated foods or beverages each year on average. However, an outbreak of this size may skew these numbers.
The outbreak, which has affected more than 41 states so far, has also spread to Canada. There have been 72 cases confirmed by the Public Health Agency of Canada External as of January of this year. In nearly 10 provinces and territories, 18 people have been hospitalized and one has reportedly died.
In December alone, Jennie-O, a subsidiary of Hormel, has had to recall more than 164,000 pounds of raw, ground turkey. The month before, the popular food brand had to recall more than 90,000 pounds.
However, that doesn’t mean consumers should stop eating turkey. As long as the meat is cooked and handled properly, anyone should be able to enjoy a savory sandwich. After all, more than 90% of consumers claim that Energy Star appliances are desirable features in a new home, assuring that most Americans will have the means to handle such raw foods properly.
When handling raw turkey, here are some tips to ensure you and your family members don’t suffer the ill effects of salmonella poisoning: 1) wash your hands immediately and thoroughly after handling raw turkey products, including pet food; 2) cook turkey to the safe temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit; 3) freeze raw turkey and pet food until you are ready to use it, preferably in a freezer away from the food in your refrigerator; and 4) wash your hands after playing with your pet who has just eaten a raw meal.