Salmonella Outbreak in Turkey is Widespread, CDC Says

Officials looking at raw turkey products as source of Salmonella outbreak

With the CDC announcement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said it is continuing to work with its federal partners to monitor a Salmonella Reading outbreak that may be associated with raw turkey products.

A salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey has hit 26 states and left at least 40 people hospitalized, health officials said Thursday.

The CDC has yet to determine whether the outbreak was caused by a single source or by multiple providers of raw turkey products.

The CDC reports finding the outbreak strain in samples taken from raw turkey products, raw turkey pet food and live turkeys.

The first cases of illness in the outbreak began in November, and they continued to this month. Among the 61 infected people interviewed by the CDC, 37 reported preparing turkey products that were purchased raw, ranging from whole turkeys to ground meat.

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On Thursday, the agency said in a statement that it has not identified a single source for the outbreak at this time. In its news release, the CDC cautions that these bacteria may be widespread throughout the turkey industry.

Variance in turkey products eaten by the sick people - "the outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw turkey pet food, raw turkey products, and live turkeys", the CDC says - has inhibited narrowing the source of either the finished products or now live turkeys.

"In Hawaii, we love to eat and enjoy gatherings with potlucks and raw foods, which make us especially susceptible to foodborne illnesses", said Peter Oshiro, environmental health program manager for food safety. The symptoms usually last four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. Despite the 51 percent hospitalization rate in this outbreak so far, salmonella rarely sends people to the hospital, only 1.9 percent.

Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before, during, and after preparing food and before eating. The investigation notice restated the agency's stance on feeding pets a raw diet, reminding animal lovers that "germs like Salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick".

Don't wash raw poultry before cooking it. They're asking retailers to stop selling raw turkey products. Germs in raw poultry juices can spread to other areas and foods.

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