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Random Rant - Salmonella & Turkeys

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Old 11-27-2008, 11:34 AM   #1
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Default Random Rant - Salmonella & Turkeys

Please forgive me a random seasonal rant. I'm just so frustrated with all of these comments about salmonella (not just here, but elsewhere, and in person) that are so totally, 100% WRONG.

I'd like to establish couple of facts up front:
  • Eating/cooking/rinsing/brining/storing/freezing/thawing a turkey does not "give" it salmonella.
  • The juice, water, liquid, skin, meat of EVERY turkey does not contain or create salmonella.
  • Having a turkey in your home is not an immediate automatic incidence of salmonella.
Salmonella is a BACTERIA that infects the turkey (or other poultry, or poultry products including eggs) while it's alive. That bacteria can then be spread to other turkeys during killing and processing and/or to the person who consumes that bacteria if it's not properly cooked to a temperature that will kill it.


Now for some further facts:

According to the FDA fewer than 10% of all the turkeys sold in the US are contaminated with salmonella. (In an odd quirk: Free-range and organic turkeys are MORE likely to have salmonella, because they don't get the vaccinations that are available that can prevent the infection. )

It is wise to assume that your turkey *could* be infected and take the proper precautions. That means not allowing cross contamination (using different knives, cutting boards, bowls, etc. for raw turkey) and cooking the meat thoroughly.

However. Either your turkey is infected or it isn't. You cannot GIVE YOUR TURKEY SALMONELLA. Thawing a turkey in water goes not "give it" salmonella. Brining a turkey does not "give it" salmonella. Undercooking a turkey does not "give it" salmonella.

Please let me say this again: YOU CANNOT GIVE A TURKEY SALMONELLA BY HOW YOU HANDLE IT.

Thank you for allowing me my seasonal rant.

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Old 11-27-2008, 12:28 PM   #2
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Old 11-27-2008, 12:31 PM   #3
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excellent info!! I was not aware of that at all! Good to know thanks!
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Old 11-27-2008, 12:37 PM   #4
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http://www.butterball.com/tips-how-tos/tips/food-safety

Tips on not spreading salmonella around your kitchen.

Happy Thanksgiving
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Old 11-27-2008, 02:25 PM   #5
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heh- that was good. some of that info i didn't know.

now if we can work on people that say they're going to "UNTHAW" their turkey please...

i will admit to being one of those paranoid germ people. i did wipe down everything with clorox wipes last night when my bag of brine and bird exploded and covered my entire kitchen with juice and debris. lol. would have done the same for any meat though.
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Old 11-27-2008, 03:30 PM   #6
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Oh I have no problem with people being careful. Just don't tell me not to brine my turkey because I'll "give it" salmonella!!

And I'm with ya 100% on the "unthaw" ... wouldn't that be ... um ... FREEZE?

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Old 11-27-2008, 05:30 PM   #7
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lol hilarious! i've never heard anyone say "give a turkey salmonella," but i know a lot of people assume every turkey/chicken/egg has it and they have to cook it out. people always scrunch their noses at me when i taste raw cookie batter that has eggs in it. "you'll get salmonella!" i know, i know. someday i may end up eating an infected egg, but so far all my tasty batter has been bacteria free. guess i like to live on the edge! LOL
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Old 11-27-2008, 05:32 PM   #8
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really photochick..i can't ppl believe people state that brining you turkey will give you salmonella. Do ppl know that before refrigeration happened, ppl used brining and salting to kill bacteria and make their meat last longer.
Brining solutions will usually kill bacteria due to the high salt content. It kills the bacteria's cell wall and makes them die.

Glad you posted that...i'm not afraid to poultry...but i Always practice good handling techniques. I have a cutting board for meat only and always wash my hands. Also, raw meat is always stored below everthing...but that's just what you should be doing.
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Old 11-27-2008, 05:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Always practice good handling techniques. I have a cutting board for meat only and always wash my hands. Also, raw meat is always stored below everthing...but that's just what you should be doing.
Exactly!!!

Princess, I taste cookie batter too. I also taste my stuffing (which has egg in it) and many other things for seasoning before they're cooked. I figure the odds are pretty low. Also if you're otherwise healthy (and not a child or elderly), then ingesting a tiny amount of the bacteria is unlikely to do you any harm.

People just get paranoid.

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Old 11-27-2008, 09:43 PM   #10
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i think part of the problem is people don't eat enough germs. We have too many antibacterial soaps, kids don't get to play in the dirt enough. I too eat raw cookie dough (its da bomb!). I have done good so far, I think i've let my body get use to germs and so its not so sensitive.
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatorgalstuckinGA View Post
i think part of the problem is people don't eat enough germs. We have too many antibacterial soaps, kids don't get to play in the dirt enough.
I agree with this 100%. My grandmother said she and my grandfather took mayo sandwiches (home-made mayo, too) to work and would leave them in their lockers at room temperature until lunchtime. Miraculously, they never got sick. I have no evidence as to why, but I'd be willing to bet that their systems had built up to any bacteria that would start to grow in the mayo.

Not that I'm advocating people to eat room-temp mayo, but it brings up a point; you will not keel over if you do not stick to all of these food safety "laws" that we're bombarded with.
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:13 PM   #12
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I do that too, if I bring a sandwich in to work, I will leave it in my lunch bag until lunch, and have never gotten sick from the mayo. I agree that some people are paranoid about food, products (all those "informative" e-mails from "doctors" warning about diseases...for example, asbestos in tampons???) and other things.

Caution is good, though...I did happen to get salmonella poisoning one time from chicken I undercooked. I tossed it in the oven as soon as I realized it but still got some of the bacteria. I missed two weeks of work and lost 17 pounds during that time and it was ****!
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:14 PM   #13
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We were talking about this in another thread too, and I mentioned that my immune system seems to be getting stronger than it's ever been, and I think in part, it's due to my "exercising it" more. Since marrying my husband six years ago, I take a lot more food risks than I ever have before (until I met him, I never ate a piece of meat cooked less than medium-well).

We watch alot of shows on Travel Channel and Food Network, and after watching people (like Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods and Bizarre Worlds, and Anthony Bourndaine of No Reservations...) eat raw and questionable "street foods" in foreign countries, I guess I started to realize that the worst I was likely to experience form the occasional culinary adventure wasn't anything worse than IBS had already dealt me. When diarrhea is more normal than not, a little e.coli or salmonella isn't very intimidating (I'm not saying I'm going out of my way to eat intentionally contaminated food, but eating carefully prepared raw beef, fish, and egg it isn't exactly russian roulette either).

I used to have a much more sensitive stomache, now I've virtually got a cast-iron stomache (I wish I could say the same about my intestines, but even those issues are better).

I never thought I'd enjoy raw meat and fish so much. I've loved sushi for several years now, but I only tried sushimi this past spring. I also tried raw beef laab this year (sort of a thai steak tartar, though it can be cooked too).

When I was on prednisone, or when I was having a lot of respiratory infections, I was more careful, but the stronger my immune system gets the more adventurous I become. And the more adventurous I become, it seems, the stronger my immune system becomes.
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Last edited by kaplods : 11-27-2008 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:14 PM   #14
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Oh yeah. I ranted in another thread about the whole food expiration / antibiotic thing.

Don't get me started.

Growing up overseas, I can see the difference in how paranoid and germ-phobic Americans are.

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Old 11-27-2008, 10:25 PM   #15
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My sister (a registered dietitian) was a health inspector (now she's a WIC nutritionist), and she knows that most of the rules are overly strict, but had to enforce them. It was really hard with foreign-born restaurant owners who would say "I've owned a restaurant in (country of origin) and have done this for 30 years and no one ever got sick."

She said that while the foreign-owned restaurants sometimes had more violations, especially minor ones, than restaurants owned by native born americans, whenever there was a case of people actually getting ill it was rarely the foreign-owned restaurants.
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