More than 36 million pounds of fresh and frozen ground turkey are being recalled by food distributor Cargill, Inc.
Investigators believe that the turkey could be contaminated with Salmonella Heidelberg, a strain of salmonella that has so far killed one man in California and made 79 people ill.
“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,” Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill’s turkey processing business, said in a statement.
Production of ground turkey will not start again until they can pinpoint the cause of the outbreak, Willardsen said.
Infected products have the number P-963 inside the USDA inspection mark on the package.
Over the last six months, 26 states have reported dozens of people feeling ill after eating ground turkey. This particular strain of salmonella is very difficult to treat, and is often resistant to antibiotics. Salmonella can cause fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain. It can be fatal to children, older people and those with weakened immune systems.
“This is, if not the largest, one of the largest class-one food recalls to happen in U.S. history,” said William D. Marler, a Seattle attorney who specializes in food safety litigation. A class-one recall involves a health hazard that has a reasonable probability of causing health problems or death.
You can read more about the outbreak on Cargill’s website.