Thursday, August 4, 2011
CONTAMINATED TURKEY RECALL COULD GET EVEN BIGGER
The ongoing recall of ground turkey by Cargill Meat Solutions (see yesterday's post) is the third largest in U.S. food recall history. To date, 36 million pounds of ground turkey have been recalled. Related Salmonella illnesses have been reported across 26 U.S. states. And, it could get larger.
Many food product recalls expand over time. In fact, it's a common pattern. (See post of July 28). As the investigation focuses in and continues, new problems tend to emerge. In this case, the government inspectors are still at work doing interviews with people who are ill with this particularly dangerous Salmonella bacteria and doing tests on samples.
There are two ways the recall could expand. First, more Cargill products could be involved. Secondly, more turkey products of other companies could also be found to be contaminated. It all depends where the contaminants entered - on the farm or at the plant - or, somewhere else. Reportedly, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is in charge of any meat-related issues, is investigating at least one other manufacturer for similar contamination problems.
So what do you do in the meantime? I would suggest you avoid buying any pre-packaged ground turkey for a while if you live in the U.S., unless it is ground at the store (that is how I get mine). And, if you have already bought some and want to use it (but, it is not one of the recalled products - see yesterday's list), be extra careful anyway not only to cook it thoroughly, but to handle it very carefully, using disposable gloves or tools that you can throw out or wash thoroughly afterwards. Any bacteria that is resistant to multiple antibiotics is no joke.
To your good health,