Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and folks all around the U.S. are planning their holiday menus. Of course, for most families this all revolves around the pièce de résistance: the turkey. While I'm sure no one wants to add more stress to this festive season, the CDC has announced that salmonella has been found in raw turkey, just in time for the holiday.
On November 8, the CDC released an Investigation Notice detailing 164 cases of salmonella infection across the country since July of this year. While this situation cannot be classified as an outbreak, limited cases have been found in 35 states. "CDC and public health and regulatory officials in several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections linked to raw turkey products," the CDC said on their website. "The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) is monitoring the outbreak."
Taking a look at the map of reported cases on the CDC's website it appears that that the outbreak is not focused on one particular area, showing reported cases mostly in states with high population cities such as Texas, California, Minnesota, New York, and Illinois. Limited cases of eight or fewer people have been reported in 30 other states including Alaska and Hawaii. As stated earlier, only 164 cases have been reported total.
Cases of salmonella poisoning don't seem to be focused on one product either, with cases being reported in raw turkey products, live turkeys, and even raw turkey pet food.
While cause for concern is completely understandable, there are a few easy steps you can take in order to prevent salmonella contamination, including washing your hands after handling raw turkey, and keeping raw products in designated areas and keeping those places clean (for instance, keeping your turkey thawing area in one single spot: inside of the refrigerator, in the sink with water changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave). Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter.
Also, the temperature of cooked turkey is paramount to thoroughly kill harmful germs: 165°F is the internal temperature of a safely cooked turkey.
A complete set of turkey safety tips (including how to handle your pet's turkey food) can be found on the CDC's website.