February 17, 2020

Raw Turkey Salmonella Reading Outbreak Is #3 of 2019

The raw turkey Salmonella Reading outbreak was number three in the top 10 multistate food poisoning outbreaks of 2019, sickening 358 people. What’s notable about this outbreak is that people are probably still getting sick because the Salmonella strain is most likely still present in the turkey industry. People got sick after eating undercooked turkey, touching raw turkey, or touching raw turkey pet food. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading was found in samples from raw turkey products from 24 slaughterhouses and 14 processing establishments.

Raw Turkey Salmonella Reading Outbreak Is #3 of 2019

The case count by state is: Alabama (4), Alaska (2), Arizona (5), Arkansas (2), California (30), Colorado (7), Connecticut (5), Delaware (1), District of Columbia (5), Florida (13), Georgia (2), Hawaii (4), Idaho (4), Iowa (50), Illinois (25), Indiana (8), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (2), Maryland (8), Massachusetts (8), Michigan (10), Minnesota (21), Missouri (4), Nebraska (1), Nevada (1), New Jersey (13), New Mexico (2), New York (23), North Carolina (10), North Dakota (2), Ohio (8), Oklahoma (6), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (14), South Carolina (1), South Dakota (4) Tennessee (4), Texas (23), Utah (1), Virginia (11), Washington (2), and Wisconsin (8). Illness onset dates range from November 20, 2017 to March 31, 2019. The patient age range was from less than 1 year to 101.

More than 130 people were hospitalized in this outbreak. That is a hospitalization rate of 44%, which is more than double the typical hospitalization rate for a Salmonella outbreak. One death was reported. Some of the Salmonella isolates in this outbreak were resistant to ampicillin (52% of all 487 isolates), streptomycin (32%), sulfamethoxazole (31%), tetracycline (32%), kanamycin (3.4%), gentamicin (0.6%), nalidixic acid (0.4%), ciprofloxacin (0.4%), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (0.4%), and fosfomycin (0.2%).

There were several recalls issued in connection with this huge outbreak. Jennie-O recalled some of their ground turkey products in late 2018. And two companies recalled raw turkey pet food in late 2018 and early 2019.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker and his team for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202. He has represented many patients sickened with Salmonella infections.

The government has requested that the turkey industry take steps to reduce Salmonella contamination in their products. The outbreak strain could be present in live turkeys and raw turkey products until actions from the industry reduce this contamination.

So, consumers are again advised to protect themselves against this pathogen. Do not feed your pets raw pet foods; people can get sick from touching these products, handling pet waste, or touching their pets.  Handle raw turkey products with care. Avoid cross-contamination with other foods, always wash your hands well with soap and water after touching raw turkey products, clean utensils and plates thoroughly after they have been used on raw turkey, and cook all turkey products, including ground turkey to 165°F as measured with a reliable meat thermometer before serving them.

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