It is time to be thankful. This Thursday marks the last day before the official holiday madness begins. That idea is somewhat marred by Amazon declaring it Black Friday week, completely engulfing Thanksgiving into the extended shopping frenzy. But never mind that.
We still have to pick out the perfect turkey and trimmings. And that is where the problem begins. CNN reports, “Deadly salmonella outbreak forces USDA to recall raw turkey.”
“Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC recalled 91,388 pounds of raw ground turkey products after the USDA found that a sample of the products tested positive for a salmonella reading matching the outbreak strain.
“The samples were from a Sept. 11, 2018 production, and, according to the USDA, the rest of the products shipped nationwide.
“The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first announced the outbreak linked to raw turkey products in July, but more people have gotten sick, bringing the total to at least 164 in 35 states. One person in California has died, and 63 people have been hospitalized.”
There are a few things that make this outbreak particularly disturbing. First, it started a year ago back in November of 2017. Second, we can’t seem to trace where it started, suggesting that it is likely widespread throughout the industry. With so many unknowns, it will be challenging to end.
Testing indicated that many turkey products were infected, including ground turkey, turkey patties, live turkeys, even pet food. There are many other products that should be considered suspect such as turkey bacon, turkey hot dogs, and the like.
WebMD lists the following symptoms of salmonella:
• Abdominal cramps
• Possible nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite
If that list looks familiar, it is because we have all had the flu. Because flu season is upon us, it would be easy to mistake the symptoms of one for the other. If you have any of these symptoms, don’t assume everything is okay. Make an appointment to see a doctor. In rare cases, salmonella is deadly.
Tainted turkey products are not the only way to get salmonella. You can actually get it from a variety of healthy foods such as sprouts and other vegetables. Eggs, the breakfast of champions, can also be problematic. Even fruit can make the naughty list.
Prevention starts with safe food handling. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling any raw food item. Wash fruits and vegetables. Thaw your turkey in the refrigerator and not on the counter. Wash your hands after playing with pets and pet toys. And keep in mind that old chestnut from the CDC, don’t kiss turtles.