Millions of Pounds of Ground Turkey Recalled in US

Cargill Value Added Meats Retail, a Minnesota based company, announced that they are recalling 36 million pounds of ground turkey throughout the United States with the label code “EST.P-963.” The USDA-FSIS reportedly requested Cargill for the recall last Wednesday. The company will suspend the production of ground turkey in Springdale, Ark., plant where the source of the outbreak occurred.

Health Authorities from The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said they wanted to be one hundred percent sure about the source of the salmonella outbreak before asking Cargill to initiate potentially the third largest recall in history. Dr. Christopher Braden, a CDC epidemiologist and Acting Director of Foodborne Diseases said the investigation was thorough and aggressive.

The Center for Disease Control reports that 78 people in 26 states have been infected with the Salmonella Heidelberg strain since March. The S.Heidlberg strain has been resistant to many commonly used antibiotics ampicillin, tetracycline and gentamicin. In turn, the resistant strain has repercussion towards hospitals: increased visits and difficulty treating patients.

Currently, states reporting the highest cases of ill patients are in Ohio and Michigan: both with 10. Not far behind is Texas with nine reported illnesses, Illinois with seven reported and California with six reported.

"Given our concern for what has happened, and our desire to do what is right for our consumers and customers, we are voluntarily removing our ground turkey products from the marketplace," said Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill's turkey processing business.

USDA-FSIS recommends people to avoid eating contaminated ground turkey, cooked to 165 degrees °F measured with a food thermometer. Washing hands with soapy warm water for 20 seconds before handling raw meat and wash cutting board, dishes after with soap to avoid cross contamination.