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Food Safety Issues/Red spots on raw ground turkey


Hi Carol,
I purchased raw Diestal ground turkey breast meat from Whole Foods on Thursday.  I went to cook it today, Saturday, and saw that it had three round bright red spots on one side of the chunk of turkey - they were symmetrical and about the size of a large pea and fairly shallow - I could scoop them out with my spatula.  I removed them and saw another spot while cooking but left it in the pan and it seemed to fade.  The turkey wasn't slimy or off-smelling, if that helps.  I put the cooked turkey in the fridge in case it shouldn't be used.

Ay idea what the spots could be?  I have heard that bad bacteria is red so I'm a little worried.  The grocery store is closed now or I'd call them so I appreciate your volunteer efforts!

Thanks so much,

Hi Catherine,

I had not heard (or seen) red spots in ground turkey, so I posed your question to a retired meat specialist from the University of Illinois.  Here is his response.

"The only thing I can think of that might cause the red spots is a thing called blood splashing.  It is caused during the stunning process of the bird.  Something causes the bird to be stressed, it's blood pressure goes up, and the capillaries burst.  Doesn't really hurt the meat; just doesn't look too great.  Happened a lot in swine when small processors stunned with a gun rather than using electrical stunning."

So, the turkey is safe to use and consume.


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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