American Meat Institute Says U.S. Turkey Supply Is Safe Institute Offers Resources to Consumers With Questions About Preparing Ground Turkey Products

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Meat Institute offered reassurances about U.S. turkey safety following news of a ground turkey recall. 

"The U.S. turkey supply has an excellent safety record," said AMI Executive Vice President James H. Hodges. "It is important to underscore statements today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that ground turkey is safe when cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit using an instant read thermometer to verify the temperature."

Hodges said the turkey industry uses a preventive approach that includes a series of food safety "hurdles" on farm throughout processing plants to reduce the likelihood that harmful bacteria, which occurs naturally in livestock and poultry, will end up in a finished product.  Turkey plants operate under oversight from USDA inspectors, who monitor compliance with federal rules.  While much progress has been made in reducing bacteria like Salmonella on turkey products, at this point, there is no way to eliminate it 100 percent of the time, which is why food safety strategies must continue in restaurant and home kitchens. 

The Institute's research arm, the AMI Foundation (AMIF), began a Salmonella research initiative in 2004 for all meat and poultry products including turkey and continues to seek ways to reduce the incidence of the pathogen. 

AMI offered consumers the following recommendations and resources:

  • When handling ground turkey or any raw meat or poultry product, keep it separate from ready to eat foods like produce.
  • Wash hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling raw meat and poultry.
  • When cooking ground turkey or and ground meat or poultry product, always use an instant read thermometer and cook ground turkey to 165 degrees F.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly.
  • When a recall is announced, check your refrigerator to see if you have the recalled product.  If you do, return it to the place of purchase or discard.

The Institute also offered consumers a brochure about safe handling of meat and poultry that may be downloaded at http://tinyurl.com/3oc9qwb.  The brochure also may be mailed to consumers upon request by emailing publicaffairs@meatami.com and requesting "Safe Handling Brochure."

Consumers also may visit www.poultrysafety.org for food safety, storage, handling and cooking information.

"We realize that recalls are unsettling to consumers, but rest assured that the U.S. meat and poultry industry is doing everything in our power to deliver the safest meat and poultry products to Americans," Hodges said.  "This latest news will strengthen our resolve to work to eliminate harmful bacteria that can cause illness."

SOURCE American Meat Institute



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