With the increased focus among many African Americans on the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and reducing consumption of foods high in fat content, a large corpus have turned to replacing ground beef and red meat with ground turkey. However, there are also concerns about the alternative as evidenced by a report released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The nation is in the midst of a salmonella outbreak that so far has resulted in one death and 76 illnesses nationwide,which has been traced to contaminated ground turkey frequently used in turkey burgers.
Government health officials indicated that they still don’t have enough information to issue a recall or identify brands or companies responsible for dozens of infections nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control have documented the bacteria in ground turkey in 26 states since they started tracking the outbreak in March, when the the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service received reports of a number of cases of salmonella Heidelberg, an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella that is often difficult to treat.
They note the possibility of salmonella Heidelberg infections is associated with both fresh and frozen ground turkey. Salmonella poisoning usually results in diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps during the 12 to 72 hours after a contaminated item is consumed, and symptoms will last for four to seven days
People who consume ground turkey should follow basic food safety practices, including washing hands and surfaces well and cooking ground turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit. Just two months ago, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, employed the USDA to start testing ground meat and poultry for salmonella Heidelberg and three other difficult to treat strains of salmonella. However the USDA did not, and has not accepted the recommendation. –torrance stephens, ph.d.