Since the beginning of a wide spread and deadly salmonella outbreak in November 2017, 216 illnesses have been reported in just the United States alone. Most recently, a turkey company named Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales Inc. was added to the list of companies to have products recalled due to the risk of salmonella contamination. The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced on Friday that 164,210 pounds of raw ground turkey products from the company have been recalled, according to CNN.
The turkey products thought to have been contaminated by salmonella were produced at Jennie-O’s Faribault, Minnesota in late October. The outbreak strain was linked to turkey found in pet food, raw turkey products, and the living turkeys themselves. The US Center of Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that 52 new illnesses have been linked to this outbreak. Since the first reports of the outbreak in 2o17, 82 people have been hospitalized and one death was reported.
The strain has affected Canada in addition to the US. As of Friday, 22 cases of illness have been reported across four providences. Five people have been hospitalized with one death reported. “Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to raw turkey and raw chicken products has been identified as the likely source of the outbreak,” The agency said in a public health announcement.
“Many of the individuals who become sick reported eating different types of turkey and chicken products before their illnesses occurred.”
Despite Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales Inc. being linked to this one particular strain, it is nearly impossible to identify all the suppliers that could have contributed to the outbreak as a whole. While Jennie-O Turkey Store is working with public health officials to make their products safer for consumption, health agencies are looking into new methods towards salmonella prevention. Many suppliers are choosing to have their turkeys vaccinated against the infection as an added precaution. Jennie-O Turkey Store also encourages consumers to read the provided instructions on how to safely handle turkey products. “As always, turkey remains safe to consume when handled and prepared properly. Jennie-O has information available on its website with step-by-step instructions on how to safely prepare and enjoy turkey,” the company said in a public statement.
In order to protect themselves against the outbreak, consumers should take note of the products that have been recalled and be certain not to purchase them. Safe turkey preparation is also essential, which includes utilizing a food thermometer to ensure it’s been heated to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.