Public Health Alert -  Cargill initiates voluntary ground turkey recall

Public Health Alert - Cargill initiates voluntary ground turkey recall

Aug 03, 2011

No associated confirmed cases of Salmonella reported in Spokane or Washington state

Aug 4, 2011 - Cargill Value Added Meats Retail, a business unit of Wichita-based Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, today announced an immediate Class I voluntary recall of approximately 36 million pounds of fresh and frozen ground turkey products produced at the company's Springdale, Ark., facility from Feb. 20, 2011, through Aug. 2, 2011, due to possible contamination from Salmonella Heidelberg. 

Download the Cargill 8/3/2011 product recall list (PDF)
Download list of retail locations carrying Cargill fresh and frozen turkey products (PDF) 

Consumers are urged to return any opened or unopened packages of ground turkey items listed on the Cargill 8/3/2011 product recall list for a full refund.

A public health alert was initiated July 29, 2011 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) after continuous medical reports, ongoing investigations and testing conducted by various departments of health across the nation determined an association between consumption of ground turkey products and an estimated 77 illnesses reported in 26 states. The illnesses were linked through an epidemiologic investigation and PFGE analyses by state health departments and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC is partnering with state health departments, including the Washington state Department of Health to monitor the outbreak while FSIS focuses its investigation on potential identification of a contamination source(s).

Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) reminds consumers of the critical importance of following package cooking instructions for frozen or fresh ground turkey products and general food safety guidelines when handling and preparing any raw meat or poultry. In particular, while cooking instructions may give a specific number of minutes of cooking for each side of the patty in order to attain 165 °F internal temperature, consumers should be aware that actual time may vary depending on the cooking method (broiling, frying, or grilling) and the temperature of the product (chilled versus frozen) so it is important that the final temperature of 165 °F must be reached for safety. Please do not rely on the cooking time for each side of the patty, but use a food thermometer.

Ground turkey and ground turkey dishes should always be cooked to 165 °F internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer; leftovers also should be reheated to 165 °F. The color of cooked poultry is not always a sure sign of its safety. Only by using a food thermometer can one accurately determine that poultry has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F throughout the product. Turkey can remain pink even after cooking to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. The meat of smoked turkey is always pink.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.