Consumer Alert: Cargill Recalls Contaminated Turkey

This morning we posted on the contaminated turkey that, since March 2011, has sickened over 75 individuals and caused the death of one person in what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had identified as a drug-resistant strain of salmonella related to consuming ground turkey.

The Department of Agriculture has reported today that Cargill Company has now recalled 35 million pounds of the turkey. Prior to the recall, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service had previously advised consumers to fully cook foods for greater safety. The specific recommendations made in the food safety warning include:

First, be sure to wash hands for at least 20 seconds using warm, soapy water. Also clean kitchen utensils with hot soapy water to avoid contamination.

Second, make sure the raw meats / poultries are kept separately from other foods. Do not mix cutting boards for raw meats with other foods.

Third, make sure to cook raw meat / poultry to proper internal temperatures prior to consuming them. Use a food thermometer that indicates appropriate temperatures for these items.

Fourth, make sure to refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase or within one hour when the outside temperature is 90F degrees or above. And also refrigerate cooked meats no more than two hours after cooking them.

The particular strain of salmonella that has been causing illness and death is identified as Salmonella Heidelberg, which has proven to be difficult to treat due to its resistance to antibiotics. The outbreak has been reported in 26 states, including California, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania. Specific California areas in which the outbreak has been reported include, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside counties.

Prior to the recall, the federal government had not identified the manufacturer of the tainted poultry. All they had revealed was that the turkey had been purchased in four retailers and that two manufacturers were involved. The authorities, which include local, state and federal public health officials, were said to be using the strain’s DNA to attempt to determine the contamination’s source.

As most consumers know, salmonella impacts children and the elderly more severely and causes such symptoms as fever and diarrhea. Those with compromised immune systems are also vulnerable to salmonella poisoning.

The San Francisco law firm of Hersh & Hersh specializes in injury cases that involve protection of the public. We are committed the safety of all consumer products.

If you have been injured in an accident, by a medical device or drug, or by any product you have purchased, we are here to assist you with your legal evaluation. Please contact our office for a free consultation with one of our experienced trial lawyers who will discuss your situation with you.