Let’s talk turkey.
If someone gave you a box of raw turkey for Valentine’s Day, either throw it away or cook it real well. Don’t even think of doing what FOX News’ Pete Hegseth may or may not have been joking about, and wash your hands thoroughly. Clean everything that the turkey may have touched as well. You also may want to have a talk with your sweetheart or admirer about the concept of giving flowers or chocolates instead.
This is certainly not the best time to be handling raw turkey, since raw turkey products have been the source of a multi-drug resistant Salmonella outbreak that’s been going on since November 2017. When I last wrote for Forbes about this outbreak back in November 9, 2018, at least 164 people in 35 states had already gotten ill, with 63 hospitalizations and one death.
How have things been since then? Pretty good, if you are the Salmonella Reading bacteria.
That’s because if you are a rod-shaped, gram-negative, facultative anaerobic bacteria then your sisters and brothers have continued to spread via raw turkey. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the outbreak now has resulted in a total of 279 Salmonella infection cases in 41 different states, 107, hospitalizations and one death. That’s 63 new illnesses from 24 states and the District of Columbia since December 21, 2018.
The continuing spread of Salmonella Reading has also led to the following product recalls since early November 2018:
- February 5, 2018, Raws for Paws of Minneapolis, MN: approximately 4,000 pounds of its 5 pounds and 1 pound chubs of Ground Turkey Pet Food
- November 15, 2018, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC, in Barron, Wisconsin: approximately 147,276 pounds of raw ground turkey products.
- December 21, 2018, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC, in Faribault, Minnesota: approximately 164,210 pounds of raw ground turkey products.
- January 28, 2019, Woody’s Pet Food Deli in Minnesota: raw turkey pet food.
Last year, 2018, had significantly more reported Salmonella outbreaks than any other year since 2005. (The CDC website doesn’t list years prior to 2006.) It seemed like the verse “Salmonella here we go again. My my, how can I resist you,” just echoed over and over again. I have already written about what a pile of poop a Salmonella infection can be and how some may suffer even more serious consequences such as death. This year, 2019, is not off to best start either, assuming again that you are not the Salmonella bacteria and don’t like diarrhea.
Currently, there are five different active ongoing Salmonella outbreaks. So, if you are having a poorly cooked turkey, chicken, and ground beef sandwich mixed with tahini while snuggling with a hedgehog, you may be multiplying your risk of getting a Salmonella infection. So far, at least 92 people from 29 states have been infected by Salmonella Infantis from raw chicken products, 333 people from 28 states have been affected by a Salmonella Newport outbreak linked to beef from JBS Tolleson, Inc., and 5 people from 3 states have been affected by a Salmonella Concord outbreak connected with tahini products from Achdut Ltd. in Ari’el, Israel. I have already written about the hedgehog-associated Salmonella Typhimimuiam outbreak. So beware of hedgehogs bearing gifts, especially if it is a bouquet of raw turkey.