Cargill Recalls 36 Million Pounds of Ground Turkey | Civil Eats

Cargill Recalls 36 Million Pounds of Ground Turkey

Cargill announced Wednesday it is recalling almost 36 million pounds of ground turkey products that may be contaminated with a multi-drug resistant strain of Salmonella Heidelberg, a pathogen linked to at least 76 illnesses across the United States and one death in California.

The recalled meat came from a single processing facility in Springdale, Arkansas, but ended up in dozens of different ground turkey products sold nationwide under a variety of brand names including Honeysuckle White, Shady Brook Farms, Riverside, Aldi’s Fit and Active Fresh, Spartan, Giant Eagle, Kroger and Safeway. Cargill is recalling products produced between February 20 through Aug 2, 2011 and halting production of ground turkey products at the facility until the source of contamination is identified and corrected. Products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-963” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

As consumers take to their fridges and freezers to figure out if their ground turkey has been recalled, local, state and federal public health officials are working to identify and link illnesses to the outbreak. At least 77 illnesses in 26 states, beginning as early as March, have been reported to be the same strain of resistant Salmonella.

Those numbers are likely to grow as more consumers learn of the recall. Normally, a low percentage of foodborne illnesses are ever lab-confirmed and thus reported to public health authorities, let alone definitively linked to outbreaks.

“It is regrettable that people may have become ill from eating one of our ground turkey products and, for anyone who did, we are truly sorry,” said Stevel Willardson, president of Cargill’s turkey processing division, in a statement.

Cargill’s recall follows a July 29 USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service public health alert, issued last Friday, urging consumers to use caution when handling ground turkey and to cook all poultry products to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Serious questions remain about why it took food safety officials several months to issue a public health alert or announce a product recall after Salmonella Heidelberg illnesses began to spike in March.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also announced that the agency found four retail ground turkey samples to be positive for the same strain of Salmonella Heidelberg between early March and late June. The samples were taken as part of routine sampling for the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), and had “not been linked to illnesses” so they did not spark a recall. Salmonella is not considered an adulterant in meat products, but consumer groups have petitioned USDA to consider antibiotic-resistant strains adulterated.

We’ll bring the news to you.

Get the weekly Civil Eats newsletter, delivered to your inbox.

As late as Tuesday, FSIS officials said there was not enough evidence to substantiate a recall. Wednesday the agency said that epidemiologic and traceback investigations, as well as in-plant findings, led the agency to determine there is a link between the Cargill ground turkey products and the outbreak.

“FSIS is continuing to work with CDC, affected state public health partners, and the company on the investigation. FSIS will continue to provide information as it becomes available, including information about any further related recall activity,” the agency said in a press update Wednesday.

Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with compromised immune systems, including the young and the elderly. The most common manifestations of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within six to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.

A complete list of recalled products, with pictures of labels, can be found here.

Originally posted on Food Safety News.

Today’s food system is complex.

Invest in nonprofit journalism that tells the whole story.

Helena Bottemiller is a Washington, DC-based reporter covering food policy, politics and regulation for Food Safety News (www.foodsafetynews.com and @foodsafetynews) where she has covered Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court and several high-profile food safety stories, including the half-billion Salmonella egg recall and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Helena has appeared on BBC World and been featured in USA Today and her work is widely cited by mainstream and niche media. Read more >

Like the story?
Join the conversation.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Suzanne
    A pointed Tweet on the subject at hand:

    RT @nyshepa Will the person who died from salmonella get a full refund from Cargill on the value of their life that was cut short?
  2. I sure hope so. Some people somewhere would claim that she was responsible for her own death.

More from

Food Safety

Featured

Popular

A Zebra Mussel Invasion Threatens Irrigated Agriculture in the Northwest

Zebra Mussels on a pole. (Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Op-ed: Food Price Spikes Are About Much More than Ukraine

A field of wheat in Mykolayiv, Ukraine.

NYC Street Food Vendors: ‘We’re Not Hurting Anyone’

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 07: People gather for a rally held in support of street vendors targeted by NYPD in Hudson Yards in Manhattan on May 07, 2021 in New York City. Various organizations and elected officials along with street vendors gathered to speak about the alleged targeting of street vendors by NYPD, who Mayor Bill de Blasio had announced would no longer oversee street vendor enforcement. In January, City Council passed Intro 1116, a bill that lifted the permit cap for street vendors by 4,000 permits for the first time since the 1980s. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Oregon Adopts Nation’s Strongest Farmworker Protections for Heat and Wildfire Smoke

Farmworkers in the field in high heat and wildfire smoke