Major meat processor, Cargill Inc. has made another ground turkey recall for the second time in two months, following a U.S. government review that revealed salmonella contamination of a meat sample.
Approximately 185,000 pounds of 85 percent lean fresh ground turkey products were voluntarily recalled from a Springdale, Arkansas plant Cargill Value Added Meats Retail said in a statement on September 11.
According to the Cargill unit located in Wichita, Kansas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed, during a recall review of the processing plant, that a test sample yielded low levels of the same Salmonella Heidelberg strain that had caused the first Cargill recall back in August.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we are acting quickly in response to USDA’s sample testing," said Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill’s turkey processing business in a press release.
He added, "We go to great lengths to ensure the food we produce is safe each serving, every time, which makes the identification and reduction of naturally and randomly occurring bacteria so challenging and often frustrating. Our resolve to determine how best to reduce human health risks from these bacteria remains unwavering.”
Willardsen stated there were no known illnesses linked to the positive sample but that ground turkey production would remain suspended at the Arkansas facility until “additional measures can be identified, approved by USDA, then implemented.”
The meat has been nationally distributed through retailers under the Honeysuckle White, HEB and Kroger brands. All packages include “Est. P-963” on the label.
Cargill urges consumers to return any opened or unopened packages of ground turkey products listed on the company’s ground turkey recall website: www.cargill.com/turkey-recall for a full refund from the stores where the meat was purchased.
The meat processing company had previously recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey in Aug. from the Arkansas plant.
The facility had processed the suspicious fresh and frozen ground turkey products between February 20 and August 2, Cargill stated in a press release.
The salmonella outbreak was linked to 77 illnesses and one death in 26 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Federal data found that 10 to 15 percent of ground turkey is usually contaminated with salmonella. Public health officials say ground poultry should be cooked at 165 degrees. The salmonella bacteria is killed when the meat is cooked.
However, people can also be infected through cross-contamination, for example if utensils used in handling the raw meat comes in contact with other food.
Those infected with salmonella will experience diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after being contaminated. The illness lasts four to seven days and most people will get better without the use of medication. Severe cases can lead to blood poisoning.