Feeling sick to your stomach and showing any signs of fever or other unwanted symptoms? If you’ve eaten turkey within the last 72 hours, you might want to make sure it wasn’t a Cargill turkey product.
Cargill Value Added Meats Retail, part of the Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, announced a massive product recall on August 3rd. According to a Cargill press release, the Class I voluntary recall involved 36 million pounds of fresh and frozen ground turkey products that are believed to possibly contain Salmonella Heidelberg. Production was suspended at the Springdale, Arkansas facility where Cargill internal investigators believe is the source of the contaminated products. Production at the corporation’s other three facilities was not halted, and production of products not on the recall list is continuing at the Springdale facility.
Cargill decided to announce the recall due to information attained from its internal investigation, reports from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and an investigation by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. The Associated Press reported that the CDC recorded illnesses from the meat as far back as March and that since the Salmonella outbreak began, it has ailed 76 people and caused one death. In total, 26 states have reported Salmonella incidents and Cargill has become the suspect, though exactly what is the source of the bacteria is still unclear.
Several different labels- even unlabeled products- are on the recall list which culminates in over 20 different types of turkey products. The dates on the recalled turkey range from February 20, 2011 to August 2, 2011. Even though government officials say that contaminated turkey is actually safe to eat if cooked right, Cargill officials are working hard to nail down and solve the problem, apologizing repeatedly to customers who have been infected by the Salmonella outbreak. They are contacting customers and urging them to return opened or unopened products from the recall list to the stores in which they were purchased for a full refund. For a full product recall list go to this link:http://stage1.order.cargill.com/na3047772.pdf .
On the bright side, at least this didn’t happen on Thanksgiving or turkeys around the country would have gotten some sweet revenge. While the investigation into the infected meat continues, consumers would be well advised to check labels and dates and maybe switch to chicken and beef for a while.