United Poultry Concerns
4 August 2011
Salmonella-Contaminated Turkey Products Recalled by Cargill

“It was not clear why it took five months to identify the outbreak and its source and to notify the public of the investigation.” The New York Times, Aug. 3-4, 2011

Yesterday United Poultry Concerns posted an alert about the Salmonella-contaminated ground turkey products that have been making people sick since March.

Today The New York Times reported a recall by Cargill, the previously unidentified agribusiness company responsible for the deadly bacterial disease outbreak. The New York Times takes letters to the editor at letters@nytimes.com. 150 words max. Include your name, address, day/eve phone number.

“US: Cargill recalls ground turkey linked to outbreak,” The New York Times
by William Neuman

Cargill, one of the nation’s largest meat processors, said on Wednesday that it was recalling almost 36 million pounds of ground turkey produced at a plant in Arkansas after it was linked to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella sickness. One person in California has died in the outbreak and at least 76 have fallen ill.

The outbreak involved a strain of the bacteria known as Salmonella Heidelberg, which is resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cargill said that it was suspending the production of ground turkey at the plant in Springdale, Ark., where the tainted meat originated, until it could identify the source of the contamination and fix it.

“It is regrettable that people may have become ill from eating one of our ground turkey products and, for anyone who did, we are truly sorry,” Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill’s turkey processing business, said in a written statement.

The recall was announced by Cargill Value Added Meats Retail, a unit of Cargill’s meat subsidiary. The company said that some of the ground turkey was sold in supermarkets under the Honeysuckle White brand. The company said it was recalling ground turkey produced at the Arkansas plant since late February.

Federal data shows that 10 to 15 percent of ground turkey typically is contaminated with salmonella.

A federal data from tests in 2009 also showed that more than three-quarters of salmonella samples found on ground turkey was resistant to at least one type of antibiotic. Bacteria can develop resistance after being exposed to antibiotics that are routinely used in raising poultry or other food animals.

It was not clear why it took five months to identify the outbreak and its source and to notify the public of the investigation.


For more information about poultry production-related human illnesses, see www.upc-online.org/health/.

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