Protect yourself from the salmonella outbreak in turkey products this Thanksgiving

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Protect yourself from the salmonella outbreak in turkey products this Thanksgiving

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Updated: Tue 10:47 PM, Nov 13, 2018

FARGO, ND. (Valley News Live) – Some say turkey is the star of Thanksgiving dinner, but what happens when the star is sick?

The holiday is just around the corner, and a salmonella outbreak linked to turkey brings about the risk of coming down with this foodborne illness.

“who wants to have food poisoning?” asked Megyn Ressler. “Who wants to be sick especially after Thanksgiving?”

Ressler is a local mom who says she always has her family’s best interest in mind.

“With young kids at home, I don’t want them getting sick,” Ressler said. “I’m responsible for them too. I just try to pay attention to what they are eating, not just the type of food but how it’s prepared.”

A registered clinical dietitian, Casey Bjoralt, explains that no one has to get sick if they follow the simple steps to avoid contamination.

“As long as you are properly thawing, preparing and cooking your turkey, you are going to be perfectly fine,” Bjoralt said. “You really want to make sure you are thawing it right, and you want to make sure you are cooking it to that 165 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Bjoralt warns this is especially important as the risk for more severe cases typically impacts children, older adults or anyone with an impaired immune system.

With more than 160 cases and one death, taking extra precaution this holiday is the key to keeping your family safe.

“The biggest thing is going to be when you are thawing your turkey,” Bjoralt said. “You should not thaw your turkey on your kitchen counter. There’s only a few ways you can safely thaw your turkey. That’s going to be in your refrigerator, if you are doing it in a microwave or if you are going to put it in your kitchen sink and change the water every 30 minutes. It should be in cold water.”

Once it’s thawed, making sure your hands are washed, separate utensils and cutting boards are used and washed separately, and all counters are properly cleaned. Then, bake the turkey as well as stuffing to the proper temperature of 165 degrees.

“You don’t have to be afraid of eating any of those things,” Bjoralt said. “You just want to make sure you are thawing things and cooking things to the proper temperature. Then you will get rid of the salmonella, and you and can enjoy your holiday meal.”

Bjoralt reminds everyone to also properly store leftovers. Make sure to have them in the fridge within two hours to keep you and your family healthy.

Outbreak information from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/reading-07-18/index.html

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