A rare strain of Salmonella is affecting turkeys and turkey products throughout the country. This particular salmonella outbreak has been ongoing for about a year, so expect that it could pop up in any turkey, anywhere. Here’s how to stay healthy this holiday and avoid Salmonella food poisoning while enjoying your turkey.

First, beware pre-prepped foods. So far, the current outbreak has centered around things like patties, dog food, and raw turkey products. But there’s always a risk the equipment processing other pre-made foods (like a pre-done turkey dinner) could become contaminated, leading to an unpleasant holiday meal. Make sure to heat your turkey dinner up according to package directions, even if it’s already been cooked!

When handling any products containing raw turkey, treat them like they have Salmonella, and be extra mindful about food safety procedures. Utilize frequent handwashing throughout food preparation. Once the turkey is in the oven, go back and clean not just any surface or tool it touched, but a good area around it. And the CDC recommends cooking turkeys to 165F. To make sure you’re able to get there, make sure to defrost your turkey in the fridge with time to spare (one 24 hour day per 4-5 pounds). Defrosting outside the fridge could potentially cause any Salmonella present to bloom, and increase your risk of getting food poisoning.

Don’t forget to support your immune system. There’s a good chance you’ll eat turkey at someone else’s home this month, so make sure you’re taking care of your immune system. Get a good night’s sleep that week, make sure probiotic rich foods are a part of your diet, and supplement with immune supporting colloidal silver. It’s a great daily support during cold and flu season anyway, but at a large gathering with food from many different sources, a little extra boost can really be useful!

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