Cargill Recalls More Turkey; Gov’t Finds Salmonella

The company voluntarily recalled 185,000 pounds of fresh ground turkey that it said could be contaminated with the same dangerous salmonella strain that prompted a ground turkey recall last month.

Roughly a month after Cargill recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey due to possible contamination from a dangerous form of salmonella, the Wayzata-based company said Sunday that it recalled another 185,000 pounds of ground turkey that might be contaminated with the same strain.

Cargill Value Added Meats Retail, a business unit of Wichita, Kansas-based Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, recalled the meat-85 percent-lean fresh ground turkey-which was produced at its Springdale, Arkansas facility on August 23, 24, 30, and 31. The Arkansas facility is one of Cargill's four turkey-processing facilities in the United States and the same one where the previously recalled meat was produced.

The meat was distributed through retailers nationwide under the Honeysuckle White, HEB, and Kroger brands.

Cargill said that it initiated the latest voluntary recall after a test sample taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) yielded “low levels” of the same salmonella Heidelberg strain that is believed to have been associated with the August recall. A salmonella Heidelberg outbreak announced early last month was linked to one death and 77 illnesses in 26 states as of August 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are acting quickly in response to USDA's sample testing,” Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill's turkey processing business, said in a statement. “Although there are no known illnesses associated with this positive sample, it is the same salmonella Heidelberg strain that resulted in our voluntary recall on Aug. 3, 2011. As a result of this latest USDA test result, we have suspended ground turkey production at our Arkansas facility until additional measures can be identified, approved by USDA, then implemented, which is similar to the process we previously employed when working with the agency.”

Salmonella is most often found in meat, poultry, eggs, and milk. Much of the time, those who consume meat contaminated with it experience only mild discomfort. But salmonella Heidelberg is turning out to be significantly more dangerous, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Following last month's recall, Cargill halted ground turkey production at its Arkansas plant; it resumed operations almost two weeks later after it adopted new safety measures that were approved by the USDA. The company said in late August that it had formed a panel of experts infood safety, microbiology, andepidemiology, to review enhanced safetymeasures that it had adopted.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that routine government inspections found salmonella at the Arkansas plant long before the August 3 recall, but federal rules don't allow a recall to be issued until meat is directly tied to an illness or death.