PEI

Be careful with your turkey, Canadians warned, with salmonella outbreak ongoing

Canadians cooking with poultry are being warned by the Public Health Agency of Canada to take extra care as a nation-wide salmonella outbreak continues.

126 illnesses reported across the country

With proper handling and cooking your turkey dinner will be safe. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

Canadians cooking with poultry are being warned by the Public Health Agency of Canada to take extra care as a nation-wide salmonella outbreak continues.

Public health officials noticed an increase in salmonella-related illnesses in the spring of 2017. There are 126 illnesses under investigation, including 16 in recent weeks.

Most of the cases have been in western Canada, with 44 in Alberta, 31 in British Columbia, 24 in Manitoba, and eight in Saskatchewan. There have been seven illnesses in the territories and 12 in the eastern part of the country: eight in Ontario, two in Quebec, and one each in New Brunswick and P.E.I.

Salmonella infection can cause fever, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The 126 illnesses reported sent 38 people to hospital, and one died.

Proper care will prevent infection

Raw turkey and chicken have been identified as the likely source of the outbreak.

Salmonella bacteria are commonly found in raw or undercooked poultry, but proper handling and preparation can prevent infection.

Precautions when handling poultry include cleaning any surface that comes into contact with raw meat or any raw juices from the poultry. Turkey and chicken parts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 74 C to kill any harmful bacteria. Whole turkey and chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 82 C.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has prepared a poultry safety fact sheet with more details on safe handling.

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