Watch Out for This Crimp in Your Thanksgiving Plans

Salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey has left one person dead and 164 sick so far — details here, as well as how to avoid illness

The CDC is reporting a Salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey across the country — and it’s left one person dead and 164 sick as of just a few days ago.

“The outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading has been identified in various raw turkey products, including ground turkey and turkey patties,” the CDC said.

Also, some raw turkey pet food and live turkeys also have the bacteria, “indicating it might be widespread in the turkey industry,” according to the CDC.

To date, no specific suppliers of the contaminated poultry have been identified.

The illnesses began in November 2017 with reports continuing through November 2018.

The outbreak is across 35 states.

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People affected by salmonella poisoning experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria.

If you’re infected, expect four to seven days of misery.

Luckily, most people recover without treatment.

If the diarrhea is extreme, take no chances and go to the hospital. Severe diarrhea causes dehydration, contributing to fever and other critical symptoms.

Especially for children younger than five years old and adults older than 65, the effects are more acute.

The CDC advises consumers to follow these precautions:

1.) Always handle raw turkey carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. For safety, cook the bird until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill harmful germs. Use the same guideline for re-heating leftovers.

2.) The CDC is not suggesting that consumers avoid eating correctly prepared and cooked turkey products, or that retailers stop selling raw turkey products.

3.) Wash hands well when handling raw turkey. Germs and infestations spread rapidly from one person to another.

4.) Thaw turkeys in the refrigerator, not on the counter. If the turkey is in a water bath, be cautious of your hands and any splashing when changing the water.

Above all, plan ahead and use common sense.

Purchase strong disinfectants for the countertops, disposable gloves, and a good hand-washing soap.

Be extremely cautious about cross contamination. If any utensil, such as sharp knives, spoons, forks, etc., are anywhere near the raw turkey, wash them thoroughly before using them again.

Unfortunately, if you were thinking about jumping straight to dessert — think again — at least for certain kinds of desserts. Dunkin Hines has recalled the following flavors due to five reported salmonella infections: “Classic White,” “Classic Butter Golden,” “Signature Confetti,” and “Classic Yellow.”

The specific packages included in the recall have varying expiration dates in March 2019.

One other thing: Remember that food safety saves lives. Let those helping you in the kitchen know the proper precautions needed.

Then focus on the true meaning of Thanksgiving — gratitude.

Knowing the food was prepared with safety and love will help you to enjoy the day.

Christine King, based in Boynton Beach, Florida, is founder and CEO of  Your Best Fit, a health and wellness company that provides fitness, nutrition, and design and management services.

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