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Salmonella outbreak linked to turkey under investigation

August 02, 2011|Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog

Salmonella cases apparently linked to fresh and frozen ground turkey have now been reported in 26 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting.

Since March, a total of 77 people have been infected with the illness, which causes nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. Hospitalization is sometimes required for complications of the illness. One person has died in the current outbreak.

The highest number of cases are in Ohio and Michigan, with 10 cases each. Six cases have been reported in California.

Authorities have not yet identified the source of the food poisoning, and no food recalls have been initiated. But cultures of ground turkey from four stores revealed salmonella. In one survey, 25 of 51 people who became ill reported eating ground turkey.

Consumers have been advised by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to cook ground turkey thoroughly to lower the chances of salmonella poisoning. The internal temperature of ground turkey should reach 165 degrees. Unlike ground beef, which should not be eaten if it's still pink, turkey can be thoroughly cooked and still remain pink. Insert a food thermometer in each side of a turkey burger or patty to assess the internal temperature.

Uncooked ground turkey should be refrigerated as soon as possible after purchase, and cooked turkey should not be left at room temperature or warmer longer than two hours. Utensils and surfaces that come in contact with ground turkey should be disinfected.
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