With Thanksgiving around the corner, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide the public with critical information regarding a deadly strain of multidrug-resistant Salmonella linked to raw turkey products. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that 164 people from 35 states, including twelve people in New York and three in Connecticut, have been infected with a strain of Salmonella Reading linked to a variety of raw turkey products. Gillibrand and Blumenthal wrote to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to urge the USDA to release potentially life-saving information ahead of the holidays.

“USDA’s failure to provide identifying information for contaminated turkey to the public in advance of the holiday season is simply unconscionable. As such, we demand that you reverse course and immediately disclose the names of the slaughter facilities and processing plants—and, if possible, the consumer-level brand names—linked to this dangerous outbreak, so that Americans across the country can come together without worrying for the safety of their friends, family, and loved ones,” Gillibrand and Blumenthal wrote in the letter to Secretary Perdue.

“Every moment that USDA neglects its responsibility to ensure that the turkey eaten across the country is safe, the health of Americans is jeopardized,” the senators continued.

While consumers should always take safety precautions when handling and cooking poultry and meat, Americans rely on federal agencies, such as USDA, to keep their families safe from potentially life threatening food safety threats. Children below the age of five, adults above the age of 65, and those with weak immune systems are at most risk of developing serious illness after Salmonella exposure – which can lead to hospitalization or death.