Thursday, August 4, 2011

Salmonella outbreak linked to Ground Poultry

(My comments are in parenthesis and italicized.)

Cargill Meat Solutions is recalling 36 million pounds of ground turkey products that has been linked to a Salmonella outbreak with 79 infected individuals in 26 states.  Of that, 22 have been hospitalized and there has been one death.

Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, a Springdale, Ark. establishment, announced the recall on August 3rd after learning their product may be contaminated with a multi-drug resistant strain of Salmonella Heidelberg.  (One probable reason for the delay is the wide distribution of the cases and more importantly, the long time period over which the cases occurred.  CDC receives many reports each day, and it can be difficult in identifying trends when there is only a case or two coming in at a time).

The products subject to recall today bear the establishment number "P-963" inside the USDA mark of inspection

According to the CDC on August 1st, a total of 77 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 26 states between March 1 and August 1, 2011. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows:AL (1), AZ (2), CA (6), GA (1), IA (1), IL (7), IN (1), KY (2), LA (1), MA (1), MI (10), MN (1), MO (2), MS (1), NC (1), NE (2), NV (1), NY (2), OH (10), OK (1), OR (1), PA (5), SD (3), TN (2), TX (9), and WI (3).

The most common symptoms of salmonella are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight to 72 hours of eating a contaminated product. It can be life-threatening to some with weakened immune systems.

It is important that all poultry products be cooked to the proper temperature of 165ºF.  It is also important to prevent cross contamination through thorough hand washing after handling raw meat products such as poultry and to clean any surfaces that have come into contact with raw poultry including knives and cutting boards. Consumers with questions about this recall should contact Cargill's consumer relations toll free telephone number at 1-888-812-1646. (People tend to undercooked or mishandle ground meat, whether it is ground beef or ground turkey.  Additionally, it is very difficult to use color or firmness as an indicator of doneness when cooking raw ground poultry – the safest way to measure doneness is to use a thermometer, making sure ground poultry has reached 165ºF).


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