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Turkey recall: What you need to know this Thanksgiving

in Food/Health

Jennie-O Turkey recalled packages of ground turkey in a salmonella outbreak, and regulators say additional products from other companies could be named as their investigation continues.

The recall was the first — not counting pet food — tied to a widespread and ongoing outbreak that has resulted in one death and 164 reported illnesses in 35 states.

Regulators did not say how many of those people were exposed to Jennie-O products.

The products being recalled include 1-pound packages of raw, ground Jennie-O turkey and were sold nationwide. The more than 91,000 pounds of turkey had use-by dates of early October and shouldn’t be in stores anymore, but could still be in freezers. Regulators say it should be thrown away.

The recalled ground turkey products were all produced on September 11, 2018:

  • 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O GROUND TURKEY 93% LEAN | 7% FAT” with “Use by” dates of 10/01/2018 and 10/02/2018
  • 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O TACO SEASONED GROUND TURKEY” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018
  • 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O GROUND TURKEY 85% LEAN | 15% FAT” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018
  • 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O ITALIAN SEASONED GROUND TURKEY” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018

Jennie-O’s parent company, Austin, Minnesota-based Hormel Foods, said in a statement that government agencies have found the strain in the outbreak in 29 manufacturing plants from 19 companies.

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials have not named those plants or companies. The agency says it has to be able to tie a specific product to illnesses before it can prompt a recall. It notes salmonella is not considered an adulterant in raw poultry unless products can be clearly linked to illnesses.

With Thanksgiving approaching, the agency is reminding people that they should always properly handle and cook their turkeys to kill any possible salmonella. Salmonella in food is estimated to be responsible for 1 million illnesses a year, with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.

Pet food with raw turkey was linked to the outbreak previously. A Minnesota company earlier this year recalled pet food with the same strain of salmonella.

Before Thanksgiving meal preparation gets under way, it can’t hurt to brush up on proper raw turkey handling techniques. According to the CDC:

  • Wash your hands after touching it.
  • Cook products thoroughly to avoid getting sick.
  • Thaw turkeys in the refrigerator, not on the counter.

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