The deadly Salmonella outbreak tied to raw turkey products for humans and pets has expanded to include 216 people in 38 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Thirty-three illnesses in Canada have also been reported. Those sickened have eaten or handled the contaminated raw turkey products. Eighty-four people have been hospitalized, one person from California has died.
“The hospitalization rate for this outbreak is about twice the average,” said Ryan Osterholm a Salmonella attorney who is representing several people sickened in this outbreak. One of his clients is a young girl who got a Salmonella infection after handling raw turkey pet food and then developed osteomyelitis, a painful bone infection that is a complication of salmonellosis.
In a typical Salmonella outbreak, the hospitalization rate is about 20 percent. In this outbreak, it’s 39 percent.
On January 28, 2019, Woody’s Pet Food Deli in Minnesota issued a recall of raw turkey pet food. The recalled product, “Woody’s Pet Food Deli Raw Free Range Turkey,” was sold in 5-pound plastic containers in Minnesota. It is the second raw turkey pet recall linked to this outbreak. Almost a year ago, Raws for Paws issued a recall for raw meat dog food after two children who handled the food developed Salmonella infections.
Looking for Salmonella Source, Officials Find it Everywhere
In traceback investigations to find the source of this outbreak, health officials have found the outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading in so many places that the CDC has said the contamination it is likely an industry-wide problem. Investigators have found the outbreak strain in samples of raw turkey pet food in Minnesota, in raw turkey products collected from the homes of case-patients, in product samples from 22 different slaughterhouses, in samples from seven different processing facilities and in samples from live turkeys in several states.
The CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) have shared this information with industry representatives and asked what is being done to reduce Salmonella contamination. In response to the CDC’s December 21, 2018 update on the outbreak, the National Turkey Federation issued a press release reminding consumers to use good food safety practices when handling or cooking raw turkey products.
But as other Salmonella outbreaks have shown, people can get sick even if they followed food safety measures. Sometimes it’s possible for products to be contaminated with so much Salmonella that it can’t be handled safely.
The Salmonella Team at Pritzker Hageman represents clients nationwide who have been sickened by contaminated food. They have recovered millions for their clients including a landmark $6.5 million verdict for a young child who suffered brain damage as a result of a Salmonella infection from tainted chicken. Click here to contact an experienced Salmonella attorney.