No cases of Salmonella Heidelberg associated with recalled ground turkey products have been reported in Washington. Thoroughly cooking and safely handling and preparing meat and poultry will kill bacteria like Salmonella Heidelberg, which prevents illness.
Though there are no cases here, the recalled ground turkey products were distributed to some retailers in Washington. The affected products should be returned to the store or thrown away.
Salmonellosis is a common illness (www.doh.wa.gov/EHSPHL/factsheet/salmonel.htm) in Washington, with 600 to 800 cases reported annually; there are more than 2,000 strains of Salmonella bacteria.
Tips to prevent foodborne illness (www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/food/safetytips.html) are available on the state Department of Health website. Key tips include cooking meats to the appropriate temperature – 165 degrees Fahrenheit for whole or ground poultry. Other tips: keep raw meats separate from other foods; and always wash your hands before preparing food and after handling raw meats and poultry. Thorough cleaning of cutting surfaces and utensils after meat and poultry preparation will reduce the risk of contaminating other foods.
Fruits and vegetables can also be a source of bacteria. All produce should be rinsed in a clean sink, especially if it’ll be served raw. The rind on melons such as cantaloupe should be scrubbed during washing. Food should not be left sitting out to cool down; refrigerate immediately in uncovered containers until the food is below 45 degrees.
The ground turkey recall announced by the manufacturer, Cargill Value Added Meats Retail, includes products distributed to Wal-Mart and WinCo in Washington. Consumers who have the recalled products are advised to return any unused portion, opened or unopened, to the stores where they bought them. Cargill has voluntarily recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey products (www.cargill.com/news-center/news-releases/2011/NA3047807.jsp) in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/NR_072911_01/index.asp).
Source: Washington State Department of Health, USA