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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Make sure you don’t serve Salmonella today

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America’s broken food safety system

I regret to inform you that there is a Multi-drug resistant salmonella outbreak that is rampant in the country’s poultry industry..

I know it’s overwhelming, but something to be thankful for this year are the ProPublica reporters who spent the past few months finding that the outbreak never abated and analyzing how fragmented food safety rules left the US Department of Agriculture, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are ill-equipped to stop it. I know who I am.

I’m not mentioning salmonella to scare you (most ProPublica reporters who ate poultry before working on this story still eat poultry) but to prepare you. While the food regulatory system has failed to stop the rise of infantis, a strain of salmonella that doctors find difficult to treat, there are many steps you can take to protect yourself.

For what it’s worth, salmonella tends to be found path more often in chicken than whole turkey, and the tips below apply to both birds (as well as just about any other) you want to eat.

Check your turkey with ProPublica’s Chicken Checker.

Your turkey’s packaging should come with a P number. It is usually found on the USDA mark of inspection or printed near an expiration date, an inspection stamp, or a price tag. ProPublica created a searchable database that shows salmonella records from poultry plants in the country. Put the P number on your package and you can see salmonella rate where the poultry came from.

If you find that your bird came from a place with high-risk salmonella cases, that doesn’t mean you should throw it away. It just means that you need to be very careful when preparing it.

As a side note, we are not done reporting on salmonella in poultry. If you’d like to help, fill out the form below Chicken Checker to share your bird’s P number and where you bought it. That will help our reports on the poultry supply chain.

Don’t rinse your turkey.

We see this all the time. Unwrap the turkey and submerge it all under the water. I get it. Poultry is slimy and his elders taught him to do this. But if there’s salmonella in your turkey, rinsing is a great way to spread the bacteria onto other surfaces in your kitchen, where you least expect it. the USDA He says. This is called cross contamination. Delete it, you will find, is a topic here.

Britanny Saunier, Executive Director of the Association for Food Safety Education, told me that rinsing poultry is a habit that has been passed down from a time when birds came from their own garden or a local farm and needed to be literally cleaned of dirt. However, it is not necessary to rinse a processed bird.

Wash your hands over and over again (with soap)!

Remember in March 2020 everyone was relearning how to wash their hands completely. Recommended by CDC 20 seconds and nervously joking about how it will kill you if you touch your face? Now take that spirit to the holidays. Before you start cooking, Wash your hands. Then wash them again, perhaps after each step. Most importantly, you should always wash your hands between handling raw meat and anything else in your kitchen.

Some people prefer to wear gloves. I find it annoying because you have to keep putting them on and taking them off to avoid cross contamination. But whatever keeps you most alert and your kitchen cleaner is the way to go.

Actually, wash everything (with soap) !!

Salmonella bacteria are tough little germs. They can survive hours to days on surfaces and cannot be killed by drying or freezing. according to FDA. If you touch raw turkey, wash your hands immediately afterward. But let’s say you forget and go to get something out of your fridge. It’s probably worth sanitizing the fridge handle now. And the faucet you used to wash your hands. Did you prepare your turkey at the counter? Clean that up. Do you use a cutting board? Clean that up too. Checking a prescription on your phone? You get the idea.

Keep your raw turkey separate from everything else.

Don’t use the same cutting boards to prepare raw turkey and vegetables without a deep cleaning in between. As much as possible, minimize surfaces and other foods raw poultry come into contact with. For example, don’t put cooked meats on the same plate that they sat raw on.

Get a meat thermometer (or several).

Salmonella, even the most dangerous strains, die at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and a meat thermometer is the only sure way to tell if poultry has reached that temperature. USDA recommends placing the device in the deepest part of the chest, the innermost part of the thigh and the innermost part of the wing. White meat cooks faster than dark meat, so those three parts will reach 165 degrees at different times during the cooking process, but they all need to reach 165 degrees before you need to eat your bird.

Some people like their turkeys to be cooked to over 165 (especially the breasts, which are tough). That is a personal call. ProPublica doesn’t care how hot your bird is, as long as every millimeter is hotter than 165.

(ProPublica data reporter Irena Hwang also wants me to remind her of the amazing power of letting your flesh rest after you’ve finished cooking it. Just not for long.)

There’s really no good way to see if your turkey is cooked well enough to kill salmonella. Just take the thermometer; You can even bring one as a gift for the recipient.

Be very careful with the filling and marinades.

Stuffing can have its own salmonella from ingredients like raw eggs, and it can become contaminated from the bird itself if stuffed. It can also cause your turkey to cook unevenly. It is safer and easier to cook the filling separately. If you insist that your stuffing be cooked inside your bird, be sure to use your meat thermometer to check its temperature as well; Again, 165 is the temperature that salmonella kills, and follow USDA advice when preparing it.

Marinating, brining, and basting your bird are great strategies for getting the most flavor out of your poultry. the USDA says that a turkey can marinate for up to two days in the refrigerator before becoming unsafe to eat. Don’t reuse the marinade for anything unless you boil it first. He’s been hanging out with raw turkey for hours.

Making sure there is no cross contamination in your kitchen and cooking the turkey to at least 165 degrees is a good way to avoid any Thanksgiving salmonella mishap, so you can focus on important things like whether the turkey tastes good, fight with your family. (if that’s your thing), parades and soccer.

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