The release from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) states that Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales of Barron, Wisconsin, has recalled 147,276 pounds of raw ground turkey products that could be associated with an outbreak of Salmonella Reading illnesses.
The recalled raw ground turkey products were produced on Sept. 11. They are (view labels here):
- 1-pound packages of “Jennie-O GROUND TURKEY 93% LEAN | 7% FAT” with “Use by” dates of 10/01/2018 and 10/02/2018.
- 1-pound packages of “Jennie-O TACO SEASONED GROUND TURKEY” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.
- 1-pound packages of “Jennie-O GROUND TURKEY 85% LEAN | 15% FAT” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.
- 1-pound packages of “Jennie-O ITALIAN SEASONED GROUND TURKEY” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.
- 1-pound packages of “GROUND TURKEY 90% LEAN | 10% FAT” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.
Even though the “use by” dates are for early October, the FSIS is concerned that some products could be in consumers’ freezers. Anyone who has purchased the products is urged throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.
Jennie-O turkey: outbreak statistics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been involved in a months-long investigation of the nationwide Salmonella outbreak. The CDC’s most recent update on the outbreak, posted Nov. 16, shows the following statistics:
- By the numbers: 164 people sickened, 63 hospitalized, and one death (in California) in 35 states.
- People who have been sickened started reporting their illness as far back as last Nov. 20.
- The ill range in age from less than 1 to 91; the median age is 45.
- The majority of those sickened (56 percent) are female.
Jennie-O turkey: numerous sources
The CDC reports that epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates a variety of sources are contaminated with Salmonella Reading bacteria.
People who have become ill report eating different types and brands of turkey products purchased from numerous, disparate locations. Salmonella Reading also has been found in samples taken from live turkeys, as well as raw turkey pet food.
Because no single source has been pinpointed, the CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked turkey products, or that retailers stop selling raw turkey products.
Jennie-O turkey: safety tips
Raw turkey products should always be handled carefully and cooked thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. The CDC is advising consumers to follow these steps to help prevent Salmonella infection:
- Wash hands. Salmonella can spread from person to person. Wash hands before and after preparing or eating any type of food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.
- Cook raw turkey thoroughly. Turkey breasts, whole turkeys, and ground poultry – including turkey burgers, turkey casseroles, and turkey sausage – should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill bacteria. Leftovers should be reheated to 165 degrees. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature; place it in the thickest part of the food.
- Don’t spread germs from raw turkey around areas used in food preparation. Do not wash raw turkey – or any raw poultry, beef, pork, lamb, or veal – before cooking. Germs in the meat’s juices can spread to other areas and foods. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they come in contact with raw turkey. Use a separate cutting board for raw turkey and other foods.
- Always thaw frozen turkey in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave. Never thaw frozen turkey by leaving it on a counter. If you use the refrigerator, be sure your refrigerator temperature is set at 40 degrees or below. Allow about 24 hours for each 4-5 pounds.
With Thanksgiving a couple days away, here are some facts about turkey consumption in the United States, as compiled by the University of Illinois:
- In 2011, 736 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the United States.
- In 2012, the average American ate 16 pounds of turkey.
- Turkey consumption has increased 104 percent since 1970.
- Every Thanksgiving, 46 million turkeys are consumed. Eighty-eight percent of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation said they eat turkey on Thanksgiving.
- Turkey is popular on other holidays, too: 22 million turkeys are consumed on Christmas, 19 million on Easter.
- In 1970, half of all turkey eaten was during the holidays. Today, only 29 percent of all turkey eaten is during the holidays.