Turtles are notorious Salmonella vectors. Because of that, various jurisdictions have rules limiting their sale, particularly the sale of small turtles (i.e. those that young kids are more likely to handle and try to put in their mouths). A recent publication from the CDC’s Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support is a Menu of State Turtle-Associated Salmonellosis Laws. It gives a good rundown of the different approaches used in different areas of the US.
Some are fairly strict, some more lax, and some are non-existent.
It’s interesting that some places ask for certification that turtles are Salmonella free. I’m not aware of any way to truly be confident in confirming that, and it’s a pretty weak approach. Striving for Salmonella-free makes sense. Killing Salmonella positive turtles isn’t logical, and selling “Salmonella free” turtles can lead to a false sense of safety.
Speaking of information, the Worms & Germs turtle infosheet can be found on the Worms & Germs Resources – Pets page.
The key aspects that help to control turtle-associated salmonellosis are fairly common on the menu, including keeping these high-risk animals away from high-risk people. Some states have requirements for warnings to be posted and for purchasers to review information. Those are the types of basic, easy and cheap measures that (if followed…now that’s another story) can likely have a very beneficial impact.