Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away, so obviously everyone is in major prep mode. With such a big feast to prepare, there's a lot to do! Menus are being planned, supplies are being procured, and pretty soon, people will be buying up their turkeys for the big day. Fresh or frozen, you've got to give yourself plenty of time to get the bird ready. But a new salmonella outbreak is creating a bit of a turkey panic, and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it couldn't have come at a worse time. A turkey salmonella outbreak has been traced to several products sold across the country in the last year, and the Centers for Disease Control is urging people to be extra cautious this holiday season.
The CDC announced a spike in salmonella infections from raw meat, including pet food, in recent weeks. The bacteria is salmonella reading, and it's been found in various products. Which makes it hard to narrow down the point of origin, since there's not just one brand or product to investigate. The CDC says that this indicates that the contamination may be widespread in the turkey industry, which is about to see it's biggest and busiest time of the year.
The contamination has already killed one person, put 63 in the hospital, and made more than 100 people sick. The CDC says they are currently investigating the outbreak, along with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). They're demanding answers from the turkey industry about what is being done to reduce salmonella contamination in their facilities.
Even though this all sounds scary, the CDC and USDA want to assure people that it is still safe to eat turkey products. Eating properly cooked turkey products is completely fine, but people should be extra cautious when handling raw turkey and turkey products. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw turkey, and thaw your frozen bird in the fridge, not on the counter.
Get a good quality meat thermometer, and when cooking your turkey, make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (stick the thermometer in the meatiest part of the thigh for the best reading). But don't let this salmonella scare ruin your Thanksgiving! Just some common sense should keep you and your feasters safe.