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Health officials report first Utah case in ground turkey salmonella outbreak

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 9 2011 4:17 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Local health officials confirmed Tuesday that the nationwide salmonella outbreak linked to ground turkey has reached Utah.

A Salt Lake County resident is the first reported case of salmonella related to the outbreak that began nearly five months ago.

Salt Lake Valley Health Department officials said the single case did not result in the person being hospitalized, and the person since has made a full recovery. Officials declined to provide any more information about the case, citing patient privacy laws.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture asked Minnesota-based Cargill to recall 36 million pounds of ground turkey, saying the meat was linked to the death of a 65-year-old California woman and at least 77 illnesses in 26 states.

Julia Hall, food-borne epidemiologist for the Utah Department of Heath, said the Salt Lake County case comes from a secondary DNA strain that also had ground turkey product exposure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has yet to release the number of illnesses from that secondary strain.

Hall said recalled ground turkey products were distributed in Utah, though they since have been pulled from retailers' shelves. Potentially contaminated products include the Honeysuckle White, Shady Brook Farms, Riverside, Aldi's Fit and Active, Giant Eagle, HEB, Kroger and Safeway brands.

A complete list of recalled products is available on the CDC's website, www.cdc.gov.

"If you've purchased ground turkey, I would definitely go to the CDC website and look up the product and see if it's part of the recall," Hall said. "If you have any contaminated product in your home, throw it away."

Salt Lake Valley Health department spokeswoman Pamela Davenport said Utahns can significantly reduce the risk of illness by following simple guidelines, such as thoroughly washing hands during and after preparing food, cooking foods to the proper temperature and avoiding cross-contamination by keeping raw meat and poultry separate from cooked foods.

Salt Lake County residents are encouraged to report any suspected food-borne illness to the health department by calling 801-468-3468 or filing a report online at www.slvhealth.org.

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10 FOOD SAFETY TIPS FOR SUMMER FUN

1. Always wash hands and work areas before, during and after preparing food.

• Proper hand washing is the most important means to prevent the spread of infection.

2. Cook foods to the proper temperature.

• Thoroughly cook meat according to recommended guidelines.

• Always check the internal temperature with a food thermometer.

3. Don't cross-contaminate.

• Keep raw meat and poultry separate from cooked foods.

• When taking food off the grill, don't put the cooked items on the same platter that held the raw meat, unless you have washed the platter between uses.

• Keep fresh produce or ready-to-eat foods separated from uncooked meat products, poultry and seafood.

4. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

• Keep the rest of the food hot in the oven (140 degrees and above) or cold in the refrigerator (40 degrees or below) until serving time.

• If you have hot food in the oven, put a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat or center of a casserole.

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