Deadly salmonella outbreak from raw turkey spurs health reminders ahead of Thanksgiving

BALDWIN CITY, Kan. -- Health officials are issuing an important warning you need to know before you prepare your Thanksgiving dinner.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one person has already died because of an ongoing salmonella outbreak that started in November 2017 and the CDC alerted in July. An additional 164 people in 35 states have reported getting sick.

The salmonella wasn't linked to a single supplier. It can be found in a variety of foods, including packaged foods and raw turkey.

Lab tests show that the salmonella came from a variety of products, including ground turkey and turkey patties. Tests showed that it's also been in live turkeys and pet food.

The CDC said that if you plan to handle raw turkey, make sure you're extra careful.

John and Sharon Vesecky, the owners of Vesecky Family Farms in Baldwin City, are experts when it comes to making sure your Thanksgiving dinner is prepared properly.

Sharon said the biggest mistake families often make is trying to thaw the turkey on the counter at room temperature.

"The best way to thaw it is in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days," she said.

Another tip: Bake the dressing in a separate pan.

"The ingredients in the dressing also have the potential to cause salmonella," Sharon said.

Also make sure to wash your hands after touching the raw turkey. And the Veseckys said when cooking your turkey, always use a meat thermometer. When done, the turkey's thighs should be at 180 degrees. The breasts should read 170 degrees.

There are an estimated 1.2 million salmonella cases in the United States annually, according to the CDC.

Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, diarrhea and stomach cramps, and they usually last four to seven days. Most people recover without treatment. In rare cases, the infection can cause death if a patient is not treated promptly with antibiotics.