Health Canada, along with the Public Health Agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and American Center for Disease Control (CDC) are currently investigating a series of salmonella infections across the country.
Turkey and chicken are being identified as the source of the outbreak, which can actually be traced as far back as October 2018.
TL;DR Health Canada is warning Canadians about the danger of handling raw poultry, as there is currently an outbreak of Salmonella across the country.
Merry Christmas to all, and wish me luck that I don't give the family salmonella for Christmas pic.twitter.com/jBomZ7Uf4t— Jay Leeper (@okiefarmer1) December 25, 2018
Amid this salmonella outbreak, the Public Health Agency is reminding Canadians to be aware of foodborne illnesses that can occur when dealing with raw or undercooked meat.
"As of December 21st, there have been 22 confirmed cases," of illness nationwide. This includes nine cases in B.C., seven cases in Alberta, five in Manitoba, and one in New Brunsick. Five of these cases have resulted in hospitalization and one person has died.
The nationwide scope of this outbreak is especially concerning. In the United States, the CDC is warning that salmonella infections "might be widespread in the turkey industry."
It is possible that more cases will come to light as time continues. This is because salmonella takes some time before symptoms begin to show.
Symptoms include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headaches, nausea, and vomiting and will likely last up to a week. While this illness can go away without treatment, always see a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms, like the ones mentioned above, for any extended period of time.
Well I can’t sleep tonight, I think I got salmonella and am now puking 🤢 wow pic.twitter.com/YqfgReTHNQ— GingerbreadJenny⛷ (@lemonyjenny) December 26, 2018
In the United States, there has also been a recall on some turkey products.
Salmonella is generally found in raw or undercooked poultry, namely turkey and chicken. As more and more people purchase and cook their first full turkey during the holidays, the likelihood for error increases.
It is important to consider how you are handling food before cooking it, as well as during the cooking process. Keep kitchen utensils and other instruments clean and avoid cross-contamination by washing your hands regularly.
Cooking poultry thoroughly is also very important. Use a food-safe thermometer to ensure that internal temperatures reach a food-safe degree.
For a full turkey or chicken, the internal temperature should reach 82°C (180°F) in order to kill off any harmful bacteria. When cooking just a breast or making things like ground turkey or chicken burgers, aim for 74°C (165°F). The same goes for leftovers.
Rinsing poultry products also increases the risk of spreading bacteria. Any spray could result in contaminated water spreading on countertops or other surfaces. Avoid products dripping in the fridge by always thawing meat prodcuts on the lowest shelf.
The government is continuing its investigation and hopes to zone in on the source of the outbreak. In the meantime, eat wisely!