Wednesday, August 03, 2011

U.S. Department of Agriculture Recalls 36 Million Pounds of Cargill Ground Turkey Due to Salmonella Outbreak Link

This graphic was made prior to today's USDA recall

The USDA finally has identified the source of the salmonella ground turkey outbreak.
USDA announces a recall of 36 million pounds of Cargill ground turkey linked to salmonella outbreak that caused at least 76 illnesses and one death.

Neil Gaffney, a press officer with the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), said the FSIS is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control.

The big Minnesota-based meat processing company Cargill said Tuesday it was contacted by the USDA as part of the investigation and is working with the department. Cargill has not been named as the culprit.

California state health officials said Tuesday the one death was in Sacramento County. The same strain of the disease has sickened 76 people in 26 states, including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Elizabeth Pash, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic, said because turkey is a processed meat, its exposure to bacteria and contamination from air or processing machinery is increased.

Pash said when battling food-borne illness, “You can’t go by smell, you can’t go by look. It’s all internal. It’s bacteria that is invisible to the human eye.”

Rather than risking it, always prepare meat at the appropriate temperature. Pash advised cooking turkey at 165 degrees to keep consumers safe, which is the only way to kill the bacteria.

Pash also suggested cleaning cutting boards and other cooking utensils thoroughly, as well as preparing vegetables on a separate cutting board from meats.

Salmonella is the most common bacterial form of food poisoning.Symptoms of salmonella are typically severe and include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight to 72 hours of eating a contaminated product. It can be life-threatening, especially to those with weakened immune systems.
Probably wise to toss out any ground turkey that might be suspect and remember to always cook ground turkey and any meat thoroughly.

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