As Americans prepare to cook and consume nearly 50 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day, an ongoing outbreak of salmonella poisoning linked to the poultry means food safety at home is more critical than ever.
Federal health officials have identified no single source of the outbreak of Salmonella Reading, which has sickened at least 164 people in 35 states during the past year.
As of Nov. 5, the bacterial strain has led to 63 hospitalizations and, in California, one death.
Many who fell ill reported preparing or eating such products as ground turkey, turkey parts and whole birds. Some had pets who ate raw turkey pet food; others worked at turkey processing plants or lived with someone who did.
Late Thursday, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales LLC of Barron, Wis., recalled more than 91,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products that may be connected to the illnesses.
There is no U.S. requirement that turkeys or other poultry be free of salmonella — including antibiotic-resistant strains like the one tied to the outbreak — so prevention falls largely to consumers.