altOn August 3rd, 2011, Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation of Springdale, Arkansas, recalled approximately 36 million pounds of ground turkey products that may be contaminated with a multi-drug resistant strain of Salmonella Heidelberg, and was announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

What do you need to know about this Recall?

The products subject to this recall, bear the establishment number “P-963” inside the USDA mark of inspection, and include many different product configurations  and weights, which can be identified here from the August 3rd News Release found on the USDA website.

Approximately 36 million pounds of these products were distributed at the retail level nationwide.  To prevent salmonellosis and other foodborne illnesses, wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry, and cook poultry—including ground turkey—to 165° F, as determined with a food thermometer.

This recall follows a July 29, 2011 FSIS Public Health Alert that was initiated due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella Heidelberg that may be associated with use and consumption of ground turkey. A total of 79 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 26 states between March 1 and August 3, 2011. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg is resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics. Among the ill persons with available information, 22 (38%) have been hospitalized and 1 death has been reported. As a result of the epidemiologic and traceback investigations, as well as in-plant findings, FSIS determined that there is a link between the Cargill ground turkey products and this illness outbreak. FSIS is continuing to work with CDC, affected state public health partners, and the company on the investigation.

What should you do if you still have any of these products in your possession?

Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation requests that consumers who may have purchased these products return them to the point-of-purchase. Consumers with questions about this recall should contact Cargill’s consumer relations toll free telephone number at 1-888-812-1646. Media with questions regarding the recall should contact Cargill’s media contact Mike Martin @ [email protected] or (316) 291-2126.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available here 24 hours a day. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.