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How to Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Salmonella Outbreak in Raw Turkey Meat

It’s that happy Thanksgiving time of year again and here are some safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who report that since November 5, 2018, a multi-state salmonella outbreak in raw turkey has occurred in 35 states and is currently under investigation. So far 164 people have been infected with salmonella, 63 people have been hospitalized and one death has been reported from California.

People who became ill report eating various types and brands of turkey products purchased from many different locations. This salmonella outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw turkey pet food, raw turkey products, and live turkeys.

So far, the CDC has not been able to identify one single turkey supplier as being responsible for this outbreak. On November 15, 2018, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales in Barron, Wisconsin recalled approximately 91,388 pounds of raw ground turkey products. The CDC is warning people not to eat any turkey products from Jennie-O Turkey Stores, but the CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating thoroughly cooked turkey products, or that retailers should stop selling raw turkey products. The CDC is also warning people who feed pets raw turkey meat that this can also spread the germs around and make the pets sick.

Every Year one in six Americans gets Ill from Food Poisoning

How to Safely Handle Raw Meat, Turkey, other Poultry or Fish

Wear disposable gloves when handling any kind of raw meat, poultry or fish, whether or not there is a publicized outbreak. This is especially important if you have any open cuts or scratches on your hands. Bacteria in raw meat can get in cuts and scratches and you could get an infection. Also, wash your hands after you discard the gloves. If you do not have disposable gloves then wash your hands thoroughly before, during preparing the meat and after you are finished. Scrupulous hygiene is necessary to keep salmonella from moving into your kitchen. Salmonella has been penned the counter top bacteria, so do not place raw turkey meat on counter tops or on cutting boards that are also used for cutting raw salad vegetables. Also do not put raw turkey or any kind of raw meat or fish on the same cutting board used to cut up cheeses. The vegetables to be eaten raw in salads will quickly get contaminated with any bacteria left on the board from the meat. Also, cheeses and dairy products should have their own separate cutting board. Cutting boards for raw meat should be soaked in boiling water to remove any bacteria that might be on the boards.

Use Cooking Thermometer for both Turkey and Stuffing

Raw turkey should be very well cooked and it is advisable to use a cooking thermometer to make sure the entire turkey and stuffing have been thoroughly cooked to kill any bacteria that may have been in the raw meat. The CDC advises that it is safer to cook stuffing in an oven casserole instead of inside the turkey. However, if you want to cook it in the turkey, then only put the stuffing in when you are about to cook the turkey. The thermometer should be stuck in the thickest part of the turkey and should reach temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Likewise the thermometer should also be placed in the stuffing which must also reach 165°F. Here is link from the US Department of Agriculture on preparing and cooking stuffing safely. Also, leftovers should be reheated to 165°F.

How to Safely Handle Frozen Meat, Poultry or Fish

Whether you thaw out a turkey in the refrigerator or outside at room temperature it should be placed in a leak-proof container. Never thaw out raw turkey or any kind of raw meat or fish directly on your counter top. Once the turkey or meat is defrosted it should be cooked right away or moved into the refrigerator because after two hours at room temperature a thawed turkey can become a warm place for bacteria to grow.

Symptoms of Salmonella Infection

Infants and seniors over age 65 and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk for getting a more severe case of Salmonella.

  • Diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps begin 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness usually lasts 4- 7 days, and most people will recover without treatment.
  • However, some people may have such severe diarrhea that they need to be hospitalized. In some people the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
  • Very rarely, Salmonella infection can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center in Brooklyn, New York

You should all be happy to know that your loved ones will be in good hands for Thanksgiving at Ditmas Park Rehab, as there is wonderful delicious kosher food that meets the highest standards in food preparation and safety.


Have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!




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