Don't invite salmonella to Thanksgiving dinner, Squamish

BC Centre for Disease Control recommends how to avoid illness

As you and your guests sit down for a turkey dinner, make sure you haven't accidentally welcomed an uninvited guest to the table — salmonella.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaching Oct. 14, so may the increased number of salmonella cases. Since 2017, Canada has seen an outbreak of salmonella cases linked to raw chicken and turkey, the BC Centre for Disease Control says. Twenty-six cases have been diagnosed in B.C.

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 "Not properly cooking poultry increases the risk of illness for those who handle or eat it," says Marsha Taylor, epidemiologist, BCCDC in a news release. "Salmonellosis is serious and it can ruin any Thanksgiving dinner, so remember to fully cook your turkey dinner and use a meat thermometer to ensure it is safe to eat."

 BCCDC recommends cooking turkey (and stuffing) to an internal temperature of 74 degrees Celsius or hotter. Surfaces, where the raw meat has touched or been rinsed, can also carry salmonella, so BCCDA says cooks should avoid rinsing the turkey. Instead, their instructions call to pat the turkey with paper towels, then throw the towels out. Cooks should always wash their hands and cooking surfaces before and after preparing the food. Once the meal is served, leftovers should be packed away within two hours.

 Symptoms can develop between 12 to 72 hours after contact and last four to seven days, causing diarrhea, fever or abdominal cramps. In B.C., children four years old or younger have the highest infection rates.

Find more turkey information and advice from BCCDC here.

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