Cargill Ground Turkey Salmonella Outbreak Continues, Two Months after Recall

<"">Salmonella linked to recalled Cargill ground turkey products has now sickened 129 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) most recent updated. The antibiotic-resistant strain of Salmonella Heidelberg has been reported in 34 states, and has been associated with one death.

Among the 88 ill persons with available information, 33 (38%) have been hospitalized. According to the CDC, the antibiotic resistance of the Salmonella strain may be associated with an increased risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals.

The Salmonella cases associated with this outbreak occurred between February 27 and September 13, 2011. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (3), California (6), Colorado (4), Connecticut (1), Georgia (2), Illinois (16), Indiana (1), Iowa (2), Kansas (3), Kentucky (2), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (3), Maryland (1), Michigan (12), Minnesota (2), Mississippi (2), Missouri (7), Nebraska (2), Nevada (1), New Jersey (1), New York (2), North Carolina (4), Ohio (12), Oklahoma (2), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (6), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (2), Texas (17), Utah (1), Vermont (1), and Wisconsin (4).

In August, the Salmonella outbreak prompted Cargill to recall more than 37 million lbs of ground turkey products after they were tied to a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg. At the time, the CDC said cultures of five Cargill ground turkey samples purchased from five retail locations between March 7 and June 27, 2011 found the same Salmonella Heidelberg strain or a second, closely related strain, involved in the outbreak.

In September, Cargill recalled an additional 185,000 lbs of ground turkey products, after Salmonella was found in a sample. That Salmonella was later confirmed to be the same strain associated with the outbreak. Ground turkey products involved in both recalls were processed at the company’s Springdale, Arkansas facility.

All of the recalled products bear the establishment number P-963 inside the USDA market of inspection. For a complete list of ground turkey brands and products related to this outbreak can be found here. According to a report from MSNBC, a July 29 health alert issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture remains in effect. It reminds consumers to thoroughly cook ground turkey to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and to maintain good hygiene practices when using ground meat. The CDC is still advising consumers to check their homes for recalled ground turkey products, as they should not be eaten.

Most people infected with Salmonella bacteria develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. In most cases, victims recover within 4 to 7 days without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. Older adults, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection.

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