With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is advising people across the country to handle raw turkey carefully.
At least one person has died and 164 others are left sick following a Salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey, the CDC says.
The outbreak was first announced in July and has now infected people from 35 different states including New York, Texas, California, Illinois and Minnesota — with a reported 17 cases.
At this time it is not exactly clear where the outbreak originated and there is no specific brand associated with the cases. According to the CDC, a number of people have admitted to eating a variety of types and brands of turkey products from different locations.
“The outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw turkey pet food, raw turkey products and live turkeys,” the CDC said in a statement on their website.
“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.”
Those with salmonella typically report symptoms including diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Though most people recover without treatment, young children and older adults are at a great risk.
In order to avoid contracting a Salmonella infection, the CDC has advised that people “cook raw turkey thoroughly to kill harmful germs.”
“Turkey breasts, whole turkeys, and ground poultry, including turkey burgers, casseroles and sausage should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F.”
You should also keep raw turkey away from other foods while cooking. After a turkey is handled, the CDC says to wash hands, counters and utensils with warm, soapy water.
Turkey should be defrosted in a refrigerator rather than on a counter or in a sink.
The CDC also warns against feeding raw food to pets. In addition, the handling of raw pet food can make not only pets sick but their owners.
At this time the CDC is “not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked turkey products, or that retailers stop selling raw turkey products.”