Salmonella-Tainted Turkey Found in States Across the U.S.

More than 100 illnesses, and even one death, have been reported. Here's what you need to know—including how to keep your family safe.

If you’re serving turkey this Thanksgiving, be very careful and make sure it’s cooked thoroughly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just made an update to its ongoing investigation of a multi-state Salmonella outbreak. This time, it’s in turkey products. Yep, turkey. Right before Thanksgiving.

Salmonella is a food illness typically found in egg, meat and poultry products—but the things it can contaminate extend way past that. Here’s everything you need to know about Salmonella.

When did this start happening?

This Salmonella outbreak has been ongoing since November 2017. The CDC updated the public on this outbreak on Jul. 19, 2018. The latest illness was reported on Oct. 20, 2018.

How many people have been affected?

In its most recent update on Nov. 8, 2018, the CDC announced that 164 people in 35 states have been reported ill from Salmonella in turkey products. Of these cases, 63 have required hospitalization; one person in California has died. The states with the most reported illnesses are California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Texas. You can view the full list of affected states here.

What turkey products should you avoid?

At the moment, the CDC has not been able to give a specific list of products affected. Right now, Salmonella has been detected in “various raw turkey products, including ground turkey and turkey patties,” according to the CDC’s latest release. The outbreak strain has also been found in raw turkey pet food and live turkeys, which means that this seems to be a widespread turkey issue.

However, due to the recent outbreak, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales announced a recall on over 91,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products. Although it’s not definite that Jennie-O products are what’s directly causing this outbreak, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) writes that it “may be associated.” The following recalled products include the following, according to the USDA.

  • 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O GROUND TURKEY 93% LEAN | 7% FAT” with “Use by” dates of 10/01/2018 and 10/02/2018.
  • 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O TACO SEASONED GROUND TURKEY” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.
  • 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O GROUND TURKEY 85% LEAN | 15% FAT” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.
  • 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O ITALIAN SEASONED GROUND TURKEY” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.

How can I prevent illness?

To prevent food poisoning, make sure that you cook the turkey thoroughly (to an internal temperature of 165º) before consuming it—invest in an instant read thermometer to avoid any doubt. Also keep your hands clean to avoid cross-contamination. If you’re not completely sure how to cook a turkey, here’s a step-by-step guide for how to cook a turkey.

Not sure if you have Salmonella? The CDC says that people sick from Salmonella will tend to see flu-like symptoms between 12 and 72 hours of ingesting the bacteria. People tend to recover in a week, but some illnesses can last longer (or even be severe enough for hospitalization). If you’re concerned that you or someone you know has it, please call your doctor.

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