Why A Salmonella Outbreak Shouldn't Ruin Your Thanksgiving

November 18, 2018 - 6:35 pm

NEW YORK (WWJ/AP) - Health officials say there's no reason to skip Thanksgiving dinner because of a salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey.

But they say it's a reminder to properly prepare your holiday bird. Cooking kills salmonella.

Since it began last year, the outbreak linked to raw turkey has caused one death and more than 160 illnesses around the country. But until last week, regulators hadn't been able to tie any cases to a specific product. That's when one case was linked to ground turkey.

Salmonella is considered widespread in poultry and supermarkets can sell raw turkey with the bacteria. But inspectors check to make sure it's within standards. Regulations are tighter for whole turkeys, and the industry says the chances of finding salmonella in whole birds are "exceedingly low."

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume raw poultry product that has been cooked to a 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 guidelines to keep food safe:

Clean—Wash hands and surfaces often.
Separate—Separate raw meat from other foods.
Cook—Cook to the right temperature.
Chill—Refrigerate food promptly.