AP NEWS

CAN MY TURKEY HAVE SALMONELLA?

November 19, 2018

This image provided by Hormel Foods on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 shows the production code information on the side of the sleeve of Jennie-O-Turkey that is being recalled. Jennie-O-Turkey is recalling more than 91,000 pounds of raw turkey in an ongoing salmonella outbreak. Regulators say additional products from other companies could be named as their investigation continues. The products being recalled include 1-pound packages of raw, ground turkey and were shipped to retailers nationwide. Regulators say the product should be thrown away and not eaten. (Hormel Foods via AP)

Salmonella is considered widespread in poultry, and it’s perfectly legal for supermarkets to sell raw turkey that has the bacteria. Part of the rationale for allowing salmonella is that people don’t eat chicken medium rare, said Timothy Lytton, a Georgia State University law professor. In 1974, a court said that “American housewives and cooks normally are not ignorant and stupid” and that they know how to prepare food so people don’t get sick.

Even though salmonella is not prohibited in raw meat or poultry, regulators check to make sure the number of samples at processing plants that test positive for the bacteria is within standards. Rules are tighter for whole turkeys, and the industry says the chances of finding salmonella in whole birds are “exceedingly low.”

The turkey industry cites steps it takes to reduce risk, such as the use of antimicrobial rinses.

The rules differ for other products. For instance, salmonella is not allowed in packaged foods that aren’t cooked to kill germs.

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