Check your freezer for unsafe ground turkey

Late on Friday afternoon, December 21st, Jennie-O Turkey Store of Faribault, MN initiated a recall of ground turkey, recalling  more than 164,000 pounds of product that may be contaminated with Salmonella Reading. The recalled turkey was shipped to retail locations nationwide, including Walmart and Safeway stores . This recall is in addition to a recall of 147,000 pounds of ground turkey products by the Jennie-O Turkey Store in Barron, WI that began on November 15th. As of December 21, 216 people from 38 states and the District of Columbia have been confirmed with infections from the outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading. Of these 216 people, 84 people have been hospitalized and one death has been reported from California. Three ill people lived in households where raw turkey pet food was fed to pets. It is not known at this time if there is a single farm where contaminated product (live turkeys) originated, or if the contamination exists on multiple farms.

The USDA is concerned that some of the recalled turkey may be frozen and in consumers’ homes. Anyone who has purchased these products are urged not to consume them. The USDA advises consumers to throw the product away or return recalled product to the place of purchase. To view labels of all product affected, see

the USDA website here.    

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume poultry product that has been cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential in preventing foodborne illness. You can’t see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness. In every step of food preparation, follow the four Fight BAC! steps to keep you and your family food-safe:

  • Clean — Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate — Separate raw meat, poultry and fish from other foods.
  • Cook — Cook to the right temperature.
  • Chill — Refrigerate food promptly.
  • Published on December 26, 2018
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