Cargill Recalls 36 Million Pounds of Salmonella Contaminated Turkey

January 4, 2012

Minnesota based meat giant Cargill has been identified as the source of a Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak which has killed one person in California and sickened 75 others. Cargill is voluntarily recalling 36 million pounds of ground turkey.

Cargill's recall consists of fresh and frozen ground turkey products produced at the company's Springdale, Arkansas plant from Feb. 20 through Aug. 2. Packages included in the recall are marked with the code "Est. P-963".

The turkey products included in the recall were sold under the following labels:

  • Honeysuckle White
  • Riverside Ground Turkey
  • Natural Lean Ground Turkey
  • Fit & Active Lean Ground Turkey
  • Spartan Ground Turkey
  • Shady Brook Farms Ground Turkey Burgers
  • HEB
  • Safeway
  • Kroger
  • Randall's
  • Tom Thumb
  • Giant Eagle grocery store brands

The states reporting the highest number sickened are Michigan and Ohio, with 10 each. Texas has reported nine illnesses; Illinois, seven; California, six; and Pennsylvania, five. Twenty states have one to three reported illnesses linked to the outbreak, according to the CDC. They are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The CDC said this strain of Salmonella Heidelberg is resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics which will make treatment more difficult. The CDC estimates that each year 50 million Americans fall ill to food poisoning, which includes an estimated 3,000 deaths. Most of these cases are caused by Salmonella poisoning.

The most common symptoms of Salmonella are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. Symptoms usually appear within eight to 72 hours of eating the contaminated product. Salmonella can be life-threatening to infants, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.

You can protect yourself from Salmonella by practicing these safety standards when cooking:

  • Make sure poultry is cooked to an internal 165 degrees. Government officials say that even contaminated ground turkey is safe to eat when fully cooked.
  • Properly handle raw meat. Use gloves when handling raw meat, and wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds before and after handling the meat.
  • Don't cross-contaminate tools in the kitchen. Wash any tools before using on vegetables or other food.
  • Turkey and other meats should be properly refrigerated or frozen.

Contaminated food is a growing concern in the United States. Fewer FDA inspectors and the failure of processing plants to comply to rules and regulations have contributed to widespread anxiety about our food supply. Those who have been injured due to contaminated food should seek compensation from the offending company. The San Diego product liability attorneys of O'Mara & Padilla can help you and your family navigate through this difficult legal process.