Vancouver/Fraser Valley – No one has the time to get sick during the holidays and illness from Salmonella can wipe you out so experts from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) are reminding people to cook their turkeys thoroughly and practice good food safety.
The warning stems from an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella in Canada linked to raw turkey and chicken. There have been 31 cases in B.C. and 126 nationwide since 2017. Epidemiologists often observe an increase in cases after the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Salmonella illness can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps that develop 12 to 72 hours after infection and usually last four to seven days.
To prevent sickness from Salmonella from raw turkey or poultry:
- Turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 74 Celsius or hotter. Use a food thermometer to check the bird’s internal temperature by inserting it into the breast or the inner thigh.
- Wash your hands and cooking surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after preparing food. It is especially important to wash down surfaces after preparing raw meat.
- Keep raw meat separated from other foods and stored in the bottom of your refrigerator until it’s time to use. Ensure raw turkey and chicken juices don’t drip down onto other foods. Thaw frozen poultry products in the fridge or in cold water prior to cooking.
- Never rinse raw poultry before cooking because it can spread bacteria wherever the water splashes.
- After the meal is over, put leftovers into the refrigerator within two hours. Foods should not be left out longer than four hours, otherwise spore forming bacteria may regrow and release toxins into the food. Eat leftovers within two to three days or freeze them for later use.
- If you feel unwell, and especially if you have symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting, do not cook or prepare food for other people.