Update: More than 160 people have gotten sick and one person has died in a salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been following for about a year. Now, Jennie-O is recalling 147,276 pounds (nearly 74 tons), making it the first company to recall its products in connection to the outbreak, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
The affected products include Jennie-O 1-pound packages of:
- Ground Turkey 93% Lean/7% Fat
- Ground Turkey 90% Lean/10% Fat
- Ground Turkey 85% Lean/15% Fat
- Taco Seasoned Ground Turkey
- Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey
All of the affected products have "use by" dates between October 1 and October 2, 2018 and read "P-190" inside the USDA mark of inspection.
The recall comes after an FSIS inspection found that an unopened package of Jennie-O ground turkey from a patient's home contained a strain of salmonella that matched the patient's and the strain identified in the outbreak. However, the CDC notes that it has not identified a common manufacturer in the outbreak. "The outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading is present in live turkeys and in many types of raw turkey products, indicating it might be widespread in the turkey industry," the CDC says.
To learn more about the outbreak and how to cook safely with raw turkey, continue to our original story below.
Original Report (November 12, 2018):
This is the latest update in an outbreak the CDC has been tracking for almost exactly a year. The first illnesses reported as part of the outbreak started between November 20, 2017 and have continued to pop up through October 20, 2018. In total, there have been 164 illnesses in 35 states associated with the outbreak, 63 of which required hospitalization. Of those, 74 cases in 26 states—including one death—were reported since the CDC's last update this past July.
According to health department interviews with 85 people who became sick in connection the outbreak, 44 people became ill after eating turkey products they had purchased raw, including turkey pieces, whole turkey, and ground turkey. And another three people became ill after handling raw turkey to feed to their pets (for the record, the CDC doesn't recommend feeding pets a raw diet).
There aren't any recalls associated with the outbreak, and the CDC isn't warning consumers against buying any specific products. However, the agency is still reminding everyone to be especially careful when handling raw turkey.
The symptoms of a salmonella infection usually start within three days of being exposed to contaminated food.
As SELF wrote previously, those symptoms usually include gastrointestinal issues, such as abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, as well as fever, headache, and chills.
For most otherwise healthy adults, a salmonella infection isn't particularly serious. But it's more likely to be severe in young children, the elderly, pregnant people, and anyone with an already weakened immune system. The strain of salmonella bacteria identified in this outbreak was tested and found to be resistant to multiple antibiotics. But, the CDC says, it isn't resistant to the types most often used in treatment, so it shouldn't present an issue for most patients.
Right now, this is a reminder that it's incredibly important to be careful when preparing any raw meat or poultry—including turkey. That means following basic food safety procedures, like washing your hands, making sure your turkey is cooked thoroughly (up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit), and keeping raw turkey separate from other foods while preparing it to avoid spreading any germs. Although it's always important to keep these tips in mind, they'll be especially crucial as we head into Thanksgiving.