Turkey Salmonella

Turkeys at a farm in Lebanon, Pa., are shown April 11, 2012. To kill the possibility of salmonella, cook birds to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees. 

TWIN FALLS — One person has died and another 164 people — including one in Idaho — have gotten sick after contracting salmonella from raw turkey products since October.

The national outbreak has not yet been tracked to a single, common supplier of raw turkey products or live turkeys. However, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales in Barron, Wisc., has recalled nearly 150,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The recalled products were produced on Sept. 11 and include:

  • 1-pound packages of Jennie-O Ground Turkey 93% Lean/7% Fat with “Use by” dates of Oct. 1 and Oct. 2
  • 1-pound packages of Jennie-O Taco Seasoned Ground Turkey with a “Use by” date of Oct. 2
  • 1-pound packages of Jennie-O Ground Turkey 85% Lean/15% Fat with a “Use by” date of Oct. 2
  • 1-pound packages of Jennie-O Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey with a “Use by” date of Oct. 2
  • 1-pound packages of Ground Turkey 90% Lean/10% Fat with a “Use by” date of Oct. 2

Meanwhile, the South Central Public Health District is urging residents to take precautions in their kitchen to keep their families safe and illness-free over the holidays.

“Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for friends and families to get together and eat lots of food,” Public Health Program Manager Josh Jensen said in a statement. “Food safety is something everyone can practice; we want people to have a memorable Thanksgiving for the right reasons, not because they got sick from eating food.”

Salmonella outbreaks U.S.

People infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading, by state of residence, as of Nov. 5, 2018. There were 164 total cases reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that millions of people suffer from foodborne illness each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

“Don’t cut corners and put your family at risk for foodborne illness by forgetting to wash your hands after handling the raw turkey,” USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg said in a statement. “Always remember to use a food thermometer to be sure it’s cooked to 165 degrees.”

To help your guests avoid getting sick this Thanksgiving, the health district offers these simple steps:

Wash your hands for 20 seconds

Handwashing is important when handling raw meats, both before and after touching the meat, so bacteria can’t be accidentally spread around the kitchen. The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.

Say no to ‘bird baths’

Don’t rinse or wash your turkey. That can spread bacteria around the kitchen, contaminating countertops, towels and other food. Washing poultry doesn’t remove bacteria from the bird; only cooking the turkey to the correct internal temperature will ensure all bacteria are killed.

Take an accurate temperature inside, cook the stuffing outside the turkey

The health district suggests you don’t rely on pop-up thermometers to determine if your turkey is safe to eat. Take the bird’s temperature with a food thermometer in three areas — the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the wing and the innermost part of the thigh — and make sure all three locations reach 165 degrees.

Use the two-hour rule

Bacteria love to multiply at room temperature. If perishable foods have been left out at room temperature for more than two hours, they should be discarded.

Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline

If you have questions, call the South Central Public Health District at 208-737-5900 or the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert.

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