Salmonella Outbreak Investigation Keeps Worried Consumers in the Dark

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By Vincent Funaro, Christian Post Reporter
August 3, 2011|11:17 am

Consumers are still in the dark regarding which meat products to stay away from after the recent salmonella outbreak was linked to ground turkey by the USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The USDA along with the CDC has been investigating the source of the outbreak which dates back to March and has infected almost 80 people in 26 different states.

“We are looking everywhere, and we are doing our best to work with the CDC,” said Neil Gaffney, a press officer with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to Fox News. “When it comes to illness, there’s a lot of work and it’s very complicated. We’re trying to pinpoint the product and get it out of the market as soon as possible.”

Cargill, a Minnesota based meat company was contacted recently by the USDA regarding the investigation. They are currently working with the agency and have not been named as the culprit for shipping contaminated ground turkey products.

Reported cases of infection date back to March and the CDC said Monday that cultures of ground turkey from four retail locations between March 7 and June 27 were contaminated with the same strain of salmonella. But the samples were not specifically linked to any infections. They also said three of those samples came from the same production establishment without naming who it was.

California state health officials confirmed one death in Sacramento County from the strain of salmonella under investigation.

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Salmonella is common in poultry, so it is not illegal for the meat to be tainted with the pathogen, which makes the investigation more complicated for the USDA according. They must directly link the infections with a certain producer or establishment, which is difficult since consumers don’t always remember where they purchased or ate the product.

The USDA has not been able to prove the link between the samples of salmonella with the same strain they found with the 76 infected people.

“Despite an extensive investigation by FSIS and CDC to date, there is little epidemiological information available at this time that conclusively links these illnesses to any specific product or establishment,” FSIS spokesman Neil Gaffney said Tuesday. “Without specific enough data, it would not be appropriate to issue a recall notice.”

 

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