Over 91,000 Pounds Of Raw Turkey Recalled By This Brand Because Of Salmonella Concerns

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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Approximately 91,388 pounds of Jennie-O raw ground turkey have been recalled days before Americans gather to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Seventy-four people have fallen ill since July, and one person in California died since November 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Friday.

A Guatemalan immigrant carves the Thanksgiving turkey on November 24, 2016 in Stamford, Connecticut. John Moore/Getty Images

A Guatemalan immigrant carves the Thanksgiving turkey on November 24, 2016 in Stamford, Connecticut. John Moore/Getty Images

Health officials found a multi-drug resistant strain of salmonella in ground raw turkey examined in the lab as well in live turkeys, according to the CDC. Arizona health officials found the strain of salmonella present in ground turkey that was collected from the home of an individual who had fallen ill, reported the CDC Friday.

Health officials could not pinpoint a single origin for the salmonella outbreak, “indicating it might be widespread in the turkey industry,” according to the CDC. (RELATED: These Are The Stores To Shop Or Skip On Black Friday: Study)

Salmonella is a bacterial infection that can cause diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps for four to seven days and requires antibiotic treatment. Children and the elderly are most likely to develop severe cases of salmonella, and the bacteria can be very dangerous if the infection spreads to an individual’s bloodstream.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, the CDC has taken to channels including social media to remind people to handle raw turkey safely. The CDC’s main tips are to:

  • Wash your hands before and after handling raw turkey products.
  • Cook raw turkey to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs.
  • Keep raw turkey separate from other food you are preparing.
  • Do not feed raw meat to pets.

“The turkey industry has been working together for many years to reduce Salmonella,” Jennie-O’s president Steve Lykken said in a press release. “Despite these efforts, this particular Salmonella strain can be found in 29 different manufacturing plants from 19 different companies, according to government agencies. We know the issue of Salmonella isn’t specific to Jennie-O, and to that end, we plan on continuing our leadership role in the effort to reduce Salmonella and educate consumers on how to safely handle and prepare raw turkey and are calling on others in the industry to do the same.”

The salmonella outbreak in turkey products has hospitalized 63 people since this particular strain of the bacteria was identified in September 2017.

“All of these illnesses could have been prevented. There’s either cross-contamination going on in the home, or there’s not thorough cooking,” Jennifer Quinlan, who teaches in the nutrition sciences department at Drexel University, told Kaiser Health News.

There is a bright side when it comes to buying the Thanksgiving turkey this year: A survey on the price of traditional Thanksgiving foods including turkey, sweet potatoes and cranberries revealed a drop in the average price of dinner for families in 2018.

Those dishes are probably quite different than what Spanish explorers ate at what is considered the first Thanksgiving dinner celebrated on American soil in 1565.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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