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Ground Turkey Cause Of Salmonellosis Resulting In One Death And 76 Illnesses In 26 States, USA
2011-08-03
Ground turkey tainted with salmonella has caused 76 illnesses and one death since March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and USDA (US Department of Agriculture) announced today. According to PulseNet, the country's foodborne illness detection system, the genetic fingerprint of salmonella Heidelberg has been detected in frozen or fresh ground turkey. The affected turkey has been purchased throughout the country.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), part of the USDA continues investigating potential contamination sources while the CDC partners with state officials to monitor the outbreak, officials reported today.

The FSIS says it is crucial for consumers to carefully follow the cooking instruction on the packages of frozen or fresh ground turkey products, and also to follow good hygiene practices when preparing raw meat or poultry.

In a communiqué, the USDA wrote:

"In particular, while cooking instructions may give a specific number of minutes of cooking for each side of the patty in order to attain 165 °F internal temperature, consumers should be aware that actual time may vary depending on the cooking method (broiling, frying, or grilling) and the temperature of the product (chilled versus frozen) so it is important that the final temperature of 165 °F must be reached for safety. Please do not rely on the cooking time for each side of the patty, but use a food thermometer."

Make sure you cook all ground turkey and ground turkey dishes to 165F, this should be the internal temperature. The same applies when reheating leftovers.

Don't rely on the color of the cooked turkey when deciding whether it has cooked through. Use a food thermometer. Turkey can stay pink, even after it has been safely cooked through. Smoked turkey stays pink the whole way through.

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause disease of the intestinal tract - it is a family that includes over 2,300 serotypes of bacteria. Only about twelve serotypes make people ill.

Salmonellosis is the disease, an infection with salmonella. The bacteria can cause gastroenteritis, enteric fever, food poisoning, typhoid and other illnesses. The most common sources for human infection are contaminated water or foods, especially eggs, meat or poultry.

Signs and symptoms of Salmonella-induced Gastroenteritis may include:

Bloody stools
Fever
Headache
Muscle pains
Nausea
Shivers (chills)
Stomachache
Vomiting

In most cases the illness lasts from four to seven days. However, complications can develop and the patient needs to be hospitalized. Authorities say this particular Salmonella strain seems to be resistant to several antibiotics.

When dealing with poultry products, the USDA recommends:

Wash your hands with warm, soapy water. This should be done at least 20 seconds before and after you have handled raw poultry.

Wash dishes, utensils and cutting boards immediately. Make sure you clean up spills straight away.
Make sure you keep raw poultry away from other foods that are going to be eaten uncooked. Do not use the same cutting boards.

While cooking, the internal temperature of the poultry should reach 165F.

Put raw poultry in the fridge within two hours of buying it. If it is a hot day (over 90F), place poultry in the fridge within 1 hour. Place cooked poultry in the fridge within two hours (after cooking).

Written by Christian Nordqvist

Copyright: Medical News Today
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