Salmonella Outbreak Reported in Turkey Products, Leaving 1 Dead and 164 Sick

At least 164 people have been infected and one person has died following a Salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the multi-drug resistant strain of salmonella has been identified in samples from raw turkey pet food, raw turkey products and live turkeys, though no specific brand is linked to the outbreak and it is currently not clear where the outbreak originated.

First announced in July, the outbreak has now infected people from 35 different states including New York, Texas, California, Illinois, and Minnesota, with a total of 164 reported cases of infection, including 63 hospitalizations and one death.

“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.”

The CDC is now advising people to take extreme precautions when handling turkey, advising consumers to wash their hands frequently, lean food preparation areas thoroughly and cooking meat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, which will kill any 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,” the CDC recommends. “Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F.”

The CDC also recommends not feeding raw foods to pets, as “germs like Salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick.”

The CDC added that at this time, it is “not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked turkey products, or that retailers stop selling raw turkey products.”

Symptoms of salmonella, a common foodborne illness, typically develop within 12 to 72 hours and include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. Infection typically does not require hospitalization, with the illness usually lasting four to seven days. In rare cases, the infection can spread from the intestines to the blood stream, requiring the individual to be hospitalized.

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The most recent recall follows the October recall of more than 6.5 million pounds of beef from Arizona-based company JBS Tolleson, Inc. after 57 people in 16 states were reported as having contracted salmonella.

Salmonella has also been the cause of recalls for several other companies, including the July recall of Flavor Blasted Xtra Cheddar, Flavor Blasted Sour Cream & Onion, Goldfish Baked with Whole Grain Xtra Cheddar and Goldfish Mix Xtra Cheddar + Pretzel Goldfish crackers from Pepperidge Farm.