Thanksgiving and turkey are somewhat synonymous. Can’t really have one without the other! However, this Thanksgiving, the showstopper bird might be missing from some tables across America.
Federal food and health officials have issued warnings about potential bacteria contamination of turkey and romaine lettuce in the United States just a couple weeks before the big feast day. A salmonella outbreak has potentially spread throughout the entire turkey processing industry, leading officials to advise extra caution to prevent food poisoning as chefs and cooks prepare the Thanksgiving turkey.
The salmonella outbreak has so far hospitalized over 60 people and sickened 165 people through 35 states, killing one in California, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Investigators have yet to be able to identify a single supplier of live turkeys or raw turkey products as the source of the outbreak. This has led officials to believe that the strain involved may be widespread throughout the turkey industry including ground turkey, turkey patties, and full turkeys.
However, there is good news!
Officials are saying that you don’t have to give up your Thanksgiving turkey just yet! They are instead advising to take precautionary health safety steps before and after handling the turkey.
Steps to follow:
- Use warm soapy water to thoroughly clean any surfaces that may come in contact with the raw meat or poultry juices before and after cooking.
- Instead of thawing the turkey by leaving it on the counter, thaw it in the microwave or in the fridge in cold water (changing it every 30 minutes).
- When cooking the turkey or any leftovers that contain turkey, make sure the food reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
But it isn’t just the turkey that will be affected this holiday season.
Not into eating anything healthy during your carb-loaded Thanksgiving? Now you have the best excuse to avoid the greens! The CDC warned the public not to eat ANY romaine lettuce, along with retailers and restaurants not to sell or serve it, over concerns of an E. coli outbreak.
This recent outbreak seems to be from the same strain of E. coli that affected at least 32 people in 11 different states since October to become sick. So, try to avoid not only romaine lettuce, but also any salad mixes that might contain romaine.
When you gather together this Thanksgiving with your friends and family, remember the health safety steps to make sure everyone stays happy and healthy after eating their weight in food!
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