Photo Gallery 4 Images
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Federal health officials from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have announced they are investigating a salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey products.
The CDC says the strain is present in many raw turkey products, suggesting it is widespread in the turkey industry. The latest foodborne illness outbreak under investigation directly involves raw turkey products.
The CDC says 90 cases have been reported in 26 states since November. Nearly half of people were hospitalized.
Dr. Laura Gieraltowski, Lead for the CDC's Foodborne Outbreak Response Team, said, "A lot of people in this outbreak are reporting many different types of turkey products, like whole turkey and ground turkey, and many different brands. They're also purchasing it at a lot of different stores."
The investigation hasn't identified a single source or single supplier of raw turkey, Dr. Gieraltowski added.
This salmonella strain also sickened some people who fed their pets raw turkey pet food.
People infected with salmonella usually experience fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps about 12 to 72 hours after eating a contaminated food.
The CDC Is not recommending consumers avoid turkey all together, but they say it is a reminder that food safety practices in the kitchen can prevent you and your family from getting sick.
Dr. Geiraltowksi suggests you use a food thermometer and make sure you cook your turkey... until 165 degrees. "That is enough to kill the bacteria and reduce your risk of becoming ill," she continued.
"And also make sure you wash your hands a lot when you're handling and preparing raw turkey," she said. "... and make sure that your countertops, cutting boards, and utensils are all clean."
Federal health officials also advise against feeding raw diets to pets.
Ready to eat turkey products such as deli meat or turkey hot dogs are not affected by this outbreak.