Just in time for Thanksgiving, the USDA is raising the alarm about raw turkey. The news comes as Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales recalled 91,388 pounds of raw ground turkey products after the USDA linked a pack of raw ground turkey to the cause of a patient’s salmonella poisoning.
The recalled ground turkey products were all produced on September 11, 2018:
1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O GROUND TURKEY 93% LEAN | 7% FAT” with “Use by” dates of 10/01/2018 and 10/02/2018.
1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O TACO SEASONED GROUND TURKEY” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.
1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O GROUND TURKEY 85% LEAN | 15% FAT” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.
1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O ITALIAN SEASONED GROUND TURKEY” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.
This is recall is the latest chapter in an ongoing hunt for the root of a salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey. The outbreak started in November 2017, but wasn’t made public until July 2018. Since then, 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. Government agencies are still searching for the source.
It’s unclear where the turkey at the center of this outbreak came from, as there doesn’t appear to be one centralized distributor, and the USDA is (somewhat controversially) not naming particular brands. The ongoing hunt has found the salmonella strain in raw turkey pet food, ground turkey, turkey patties, and in live turkeys, indicating “it might be widespread in the turkey industry.”
Before Thanksgiving meal preparation gets underway, it can’t hurt to brush up on proper raw turkey handling techniques. According to the CDC:
Wash your hands after touching it.
Cook products thoroughly to avoid getting sick.
Thaw turkeys in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
Or just skip the turkey this year in favor of duck, chicken, lamb, rabbit, or Tofurkey. Better yet, just eat twice as many sides, which everyone knows are the real stars of the Thanksgiving feast.