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Enormous Cargill ground turkey recall expands: Part 1

A little more than a month ago, Cargill recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey after an outbreak of salmonella poisoning was linked to one of its turkey processing plants. The salmonella caused 111 illnesses across 31 states and one death. The strain of bacteria, salmonella Heidelberg, is especially virulent because it is resistant to many antibiotics.

Salmonella poisoning causes diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever. If ingested, it can be fatal to people with compromised immune systems, young children and older people.

The recall was one of the largest meat recalls in the history of the U.S. Cargill has now announced that it is recalling 185,000 additional pounds of ground turkey after tests revealed that products leaving the same plant as in the original recall still carry salmonella Heidelberg. The new recalls include turkey products with the establishment number P-963. The brand names include HEB, Honeysuckle White and Kroger. People should return any recalled products to the store where they were purchased for a full refund.

The company is treating the new test findings very seriously and recalling those products that potentially carry the bacteria. This is reportedly a change from how the original recall enfolded. Reportedly, Cargill and the USDA knew about the presence of the bacteria at the plant several months before people started falling ill around the country, but did not order the recall until dozens had become seriously ill and one person died.

Some say that the way that Cargill is acting now is the way it should always be in order to keep consumers safe. Salmonella is generally not treated as seriously as E. coli, but some say this should change, particularly in the case of salmonella Heidelberg. The next post will look more at this issue and some other food recalls of the recent past.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “More ground turkey is recalled over salmonella,” Hugo Martin, Sept. 12, 2011



John P. Aldrich
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