(RxWiki News) Cargill Meat Solutions has voluntarily recalled 36 million pounds of turkey that may be contaminated with a multi-drug resistant form of salmonella in what may be one of the largest ever meat recalls in the United States.
The Arkansas-based company is suspending production until company officials can identify the exact source of the contamination. Both fresh and frozen turkey is included in the recall.
"Return turkey to the store where it was purchased."
So far as least one person has died and 76 have been sickened in an outbreak that has spanned 26 states. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said cases of the illness were first reported in March. The strain, Salmonella Heidelberg, is highly resistant to antibiotics.
Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill’s turkey processing business, said in a statement that “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.”
"Given our concern for what has happened, and our desire to do what is right for our consumers and customers, we are voluntarily removing our ground turkey products from the marketplace,” he said.
Some of the turkey was sold under the brand Honeysuckle White, though the recall was announced by Cargill Value Added Meats Retail.
The company has recalled all meat produced at the Arkansas plant since February. Items subject to recall bear establishment number "P-963" inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection stamp.
According to the USDA, Recalled items include ground turkey chubs, 85 percent ground turkey, 93 percent ground turkey, ground patties and frozen ground turkey.
Salmonella can be killed by thorough cooking. Turkey must be cooked at 165 degrees to ensure the bacteria will not be problematic. The symptoms of salmonella include fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Most cases go away without treatment after about a week, but this particular strain has been particularly virulent.
For additional specifics about the recall, please call Cargill's Consumer Relations at 888-812-1646. Consumers can return products to the store where they were originally purchased for a full refund.