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Salmonella poisoning involving ground turkey has hit Cook, DuPage and Will counties and four other locations throughout Illinois related to what is now the third-largest meat recall in U.S. history.
"This is the biggest Class I recall to date and involves some 36 million pounds of ground turkey that may be contaminated with a multi-drug resistant strain of Salmonella Heidelberg. This is a lot of meat with a reasonably high health hazard of food poisoning. No one is happy when eating food causes health problems or death," says Dr. Jorge Parada, director of infection prevention and control of Loyola University Health System. "Almost 2,500 strains of Salmonella exist but Salmonella Heidelberg is more resistant than most strains and has been identified in all cases in this outbreak."
Cargill Inc. has nationally recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey due to Salmonella poisoning and nearly 80 victims from 26 states have been infected and one person has died.
"By following some basic rules of good hygiene and carefully adhering to basic cooking guidelines, most people will avoid illness," Parada says. "Cook meat thoroughly and, during preparation, keep raw meat separate from foods that will not be cooked and do not share utensils such as cutting boards."
Parada adds that people infected with Salmonella poisoning can suffer from a variety of symptoms, from upset stomach and diarrhea to other flu-like symptoms including fever and severe illness. Those with general good health often recover even without medical treatment.
Here are tips from Parada to help you identify whether your symptoms might be due to Salmonella poisoning:
- Abdominal cramping, diarrhea and fever occurring 12 to 72 hours after infection are typical symptoms of food poisoning, including Salmonella poisoning.
- Be prepared to spend four to seven days reecovering and plan to rest and drink lots of fluids.
- Hospitalization due to Salmonella poisoning is rare but the young, old and chronically ill need to be very careful to avoid dehydration due to diarrhea.
- Antibiotics are sometimes used to treat those infected with Salmonella poisoning but most people, in overall good health, will be able to recover without medication.
How to Prevent Salmonella Poisoning
In addition to checking your kitchen for recalled Cargill ground turkey products, Parada recommends these tips for prevention of Salmonella poisoning:
- Keep raw turkey refrigerated within two hours after purchase, or one hour if temperatures exceed 90 degrees.
- Cook ground turkey to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees to kill Salmonella bacteria and use a meat thermomeeter for accuracy; dont guesstimate.
- Keep raw ground turkey separate from foods that will not be cooked, such as fruits and vegetables to avoid potential contamination.
- Wash hands well with soap and water , as well as any utensils, after touching raw turkey.
Parada says 10 percent to 15 percent of ground turkey in the United States is contaminated with Salmonella, making it one of the most difficult foodbourne pathogens to control in the nation.
"Ground turkey is perceived as a more healthful alternative to ground beef so popularity has soared, especially in this, our primary grilling season," says Parada. "People need to follow proper food-preparation precautions so that it remains a healthy source of protein."
List of Recalled Ground Turkey
This recall affects more than 25 different types of fresh and frozen ground turkey products produced at Cargill Inc.s Springdale, Ark. plant between Feb. 20 and Aug. 2.
All packages contain the code "Est. P-963," according to Cargill. Here is the full list of recalled products:
Ground Turkey Chubs - Use or Freeze by Dates of 2/20/11 through 8/23/11
10 lb. chubs of Honeysuckle White Fresh Natural Lean Ground Turkey with Natural Flavorings
10 lb. chubs of Unbranded Ground Turkey w/ Natural Flavoring 2 Pack
80 oz. (chubs of Riverside Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring
10 lb. chubs of Natural Lean Ground Turkey with Natural Flavorings
16 oz. chubs of Fresh Lean HEB Ground Turkey 93/7
16 oz. chubs of Fresh HEB Ground Turkey 85/15
16 oz. chubs of Honeysuckle White 93/7 Fresh Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring
4-1 Pound Packages of Honeysuckle White Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring Value Pack
16 oz. chubs of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Fresh Ground Turkey
48 oz. chubs of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Fresh Ground Turkey
85% Ground Turkey - Use or Freeze by Dates of 2/20/11 through 8/23/11
19.2 oz. trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey
19.2 oz. trays of Honeysuckle White Taco Seasoned Ground Turkey Colored with Paprika
19.2 oz. trays of Kroger Ground Turkey Fresh 85/15
48.0 oz. trays of Kroger Ground Turkey Fresh 85/15
20 oz. trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey
48.0 oz. trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey Family Pack
16 oz. trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey
19.2 oz. trays of Honeysuckle White Seasoned Italian Style Ground Turkey with Natural Flavorings
20 oz. trays of Safeway Fresh Ground Turkey with Natural Flavorings * 15% Fat
93% Ground Turkey - Use or Freeze by Dates of 2/20/11 through 8/23/11
19.2 oz. trays of Honeysuckle White 93/7 Lean Ground Turkey
48 oz. trays of Honeysuckle White 93/7 Lean Ground Turkey Family Pack
19.2 oz. trays of Fit & Active Lean Ground Turkey 93/07
19.2 oz. trays of Giant Eagle Ground Turkey Fresh & Premium Lean
19.2 oz. trays of Kroger Ground Turkey Fresh Lean 93/7
20 oz trays of Honeysuckle White 93/7 Lean Ground Turkey