91,000 Pounds of Turkey Recalled Due to Potential Salmonella Contamination
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, but Americans are facing a widespread salmonella outbreak linked to turkey that could be of concern. And now the United States Department of Agriculture has announced the first official recall associated with a specific strain of salmonella affecting turkey products this year.
Jennie-O Turkey is recalling more than 91,000 pounds of raw turkey sold at retailers across the United States, including Sam's Club and Southern favorites Publix and H-E-B Grocery. The raw turkey in question was manufactured on Sept. 11, 2018, with most "use by" dates in October, but these products could still be in freezers.
The products being recalled include one-pound packages of ground turkey as well as pre-seasoned varieties. The USDA has attached product images, as well as full product information, to their official recall notice. Officials are asking shoppers to return any affected products to the point of purchase for a full refund, or to simply toss the tainted turkey out.
Jennie-O, which is owned by Hormel, is the first manufacturer to be linked to the ongoing salmonella outbreak, which has claimed the life of one in California and sickened more than 164 people in 35 different states so far. Half of those who were sickened required hospitalization, which occurred after they ate raw turkey tainted with a strain of salmonella known as salmonella Reading.
Other cases also stemmed from consumption of ground turkey, contact with raw turkey pet food, as well as live turkeys themselves. This leads us to believe the bacteria is widespread within the turkey industry.
More on salmonella and how to stay safe:
While federal safety agencies are maintaining that it's still safe to enjoy a turkey on Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently advising that turkeys be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees before being served—taking the time to use a meat thermometer to confirm temperatures before serving your meal is crucial.
Make sure to wash your hands properly when handling raw meat in your kitchen, and take time to sanitize any prep space after handling raw meat. Don't, however, wash raw turkey or poultry in your sink before prepping, as contact on surfaces can actually spread bacteria.
Earlier this week, USDA officials released a statement saying it wouldn't name which turkey plants that had been linked to prior cases, USA Today reports. "It would be grossly irresponsible and reckless to associate producers with an outbreak investigation, when a link from an establishment to an illness has not been made. It’s also not helpful to consumers,” the statement, issued Nov. 14 by the USDA, reads.