ATLANTA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided an update on the multistate raw turkey Salmonella Reading outbreak during the last two years.
In its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the federal agency stated that its investigation found 356 cases of Salmonella Reading in 42 states between Nov. 2017 and March 2019. Among the 300 patients with information, one person died and 132 others were hospitalized.
According to the CDC and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), a single, common supplier of raw turkey products or live turkeys was not identified.
The outbreak strain was found in 178 samples of raw turkey products from 24 slaughter and 14 processing facilities over 21 states. These were collected by the FSIS as part of routine testing. An additional 120 retail turkey samples were collected as part of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System retail meat sampling program.
Several brands and types of raw turkey products were represented in the samples. The Salmonella outbreak strain was also recognized in 10 samples from live turkeys in several states, according to the CDC.
“Investigators from the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development identified the outbreak strain in two of three unopened ground turkey samples collected from two patient homes,” the report said. “These were the same brand of ground turkey but were produced in different facilities. Investigators from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture identified the outbreak strain in samples of two brands of raw turkey pet food that were served to pets in patients’ homes. No commercial connections or common source materials were identified among any of these facilities.”
The report went on to say that because contamination was widespread, it needed to look at all parts of the supply chain, including processing facilities and upstream farm sources. It also said that the responsibility to develop effective strategies for Salmonella reduction along with the production line beings with the industry. The CDC encouraged all parties to continue preventive actions to reduce contamination.
The agency encouraged proper handling of raw turkey, which includes handwashing and thorough cooking. Consumers also are advised to thoroughly clean counters, cutting boards and utensils after they touch raw turkey. Finally, CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets.