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We all know that Thanksgiving is murder on turkeys, but it turns out it can be murder on turkey-eaters too. With a little more than a week to go before the biggest turkey-dismembering day of the year, a Texas-based meat company is recalling 2,600 pounds of cooked turkey meat because of fears that it is contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. While listeria may not be as “sexy” as E.coli (bloody diarrhea, kidney failure!), it’s still a nasty little bug that can cause fever, headaches, and nausea and can even be fatal to people with compromised immune systems, such as infants, elderly people, and AIDS and cancer patients.
Think you’re safe if you buy a raw or frozen turkey? Sorry, turkey carcasses are often contaminated with salmonella (USDA inspection reports reveal that an average of one out of eight turkeys is infected), as well as campylobacter, which is the second-leading cause of reported food-related illnesses.
But wait, there’s more! Turkey wings and legs contain even more fat and cholesterol than many cuts of beef. A turkey leg contains more than 700 milligrams of cholesterol and more than 1,600 calories—40 percent of which are derived from fat.
But all is not lost. A Thanksgiving feast without the dead bird is still a feast—just a less potentially lethal one. Need some turkey-friendly ideas? Take a gander at the tempting recipes in the Living section of PETA.org.