Native News Network Staff in Native Health. Discussion »
WASHINGTON - The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella Heidelberg that may be associated with use and consumption of ground turkey.
The alert was initiated after medical reports, ongoing investigations and testing conducted by various departments of health across the nation determined there is an association between consumption of ground turkey products and an estimated 77 illnesses and one death reported in 26 states.
While not reported by racial or ethnic group, many of these states are among states where several American Indian tribes are located:
The illnesses are spread all over the country. The states with the highest number sickened were Michigan and Ohio, 10 illnesses each, while nine illnesses were reported in Texas. Illinois had seven, California six and Pennsylvania five.
The remaining states have between one and three reported illnesses linked to the outbreak, according to the CDC: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
CDC is partnering with state health departments to monitor the outbreak while FSIS focuses its investigation on potential identification of a contamination source.
FSIS reminds consumers of the critical importance of following package cooking instructions for frozen or fresh ground turkey products and general food safety guidelines when handling and preparing any raw meat or poultry.
Ground turkey and ground turkey dishes should always be cooked to 165 Â°F internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer; leftovers also should be reheated to 165 Â°F. The color of cooked poultry is not always a sure sign of its safety. Only by using a food thermometer can one accurately determine that poultry has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 Â°F throughout the product. Turkey can remain pink even after cooking to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 Â°F. The meat of smoked turkey is always pink.
Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days.
To prevent salmonellosis, the USDA recommends consumers observe the following steps:
photo by Scott Bauer, USDA
posted August 2, 2011 9:30 am edt
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