Thanksgiving is 6 days away. This is a frightening outbreak for our main dish. Hundreds have fallen ill and there has been one reported death due to salmonella exposure from raw turkey. The Centers for Disease Control is advising anyone handling raw turkey to use extra precaution. They have not yet figured out the exact source of the outbreak, therefore all raw turkey is suspect.

The CDC offers the following:

Always handle raw turkey carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. This outbreak is a reminder that raw turkey products can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and can make you sick.

CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked turkey products, or that retailers stop selling raw turkey products.

CDC advises consumers to follow these steps to help prevent Salmonella infection from raw turkey:

  • Wash your hands. Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another. Wash hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.
  • Cook raw turkey thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Turkey breasts, whole turkeys, and ground poultry, including turkey burgers, casseroles, and sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F. Use a food thermometer to check, and place it in the thickest part of the food.
  • Don’t spread germs from raw turkey around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended. Germs in raw poultry juices can spread to other areas and foods. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw turkey. Use a separate cutting board for raw turkey and other raw meats if possible.
  • Thaw turkey in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave. Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter.
  • CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. Germs like Salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick. Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.