Cargill, one of the world’s largest food companies, with $120 billion in sales last year, suspendedoperations at its Arkansas plant in August 2011 and recalled 36 million pounds of fresh and frozen ground turkey products processed at the plant between February 20 and Aug 2. The turkey was found to contain Salmonella Heidelberg, the same strain that caused an outbreak of illnesses in 31 states.
Shortly after the recall, the Arkansas plant was reopened on August 19, 2011. Although Cargill spokesman Mike Martin claimed the plant was reopened after extensive cleaning of its processing line and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) had approved of an “enhanced food safety plan” that is “the most aggressive and advanced program in the poultry industry,” Cargill has now issued a recall for an additional 185,000 pounds of ground turkey product that may be contaminated with the Salmonella Heidelberg once again.
According to FSIS, today’s recall occurred after a product sample collected on August 24 tested positive for the outbreak strain ofSalmonella Heidelberg. The products subject to recall include:
Fresh Ground Turkey Chubs
- 16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Fresh HEB Ground Turkey 85/15 with Use or Freeze by Dates of 09/12/2011, 09/13/2011, 09/19/2011 and 09/20/2011
- 16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Fresh Ground Turkey with Use or Freeze by Dates of 09/19/2011, 09/20/2011 and 09/21/2011
Fresh Ground Turkey Trays
- 19.2 oz. (1.2 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey with Use or Freeze by Dates of 09/10/2011 and 09/12/2011
- 48.0 oz. (3 lb.) trays of Kroger Ground Turkey Fresh 85/15 with Use or Freeze by Dates of 09/17/2011, 09/18/2011 and 09/19/2011
- 48.0 oz. (3 lbs.) trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey Family Pack with Use or Freeze by Dates of 09/11/2011, 09/12/2011, 09/13/2011, 09/15/2011, 09/17/2011 and 09/18/2011
- 16 oz. (1 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey with a Use or Freeze by Date of 09/11/2011
Fresh Ground Turkey Patties
- 16.0 oz. (1 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White Ground Turkey Patties with a Use or Freeze by Date of 09/18/2011
- 16 oz. (1 lb.) trays of Kroger Ground Seasoned Turkey Patties Fresh 85/15 with a Use or Freeze by Date of 09/17/2011
The products subject to recall today bear the establishment number “P-963” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The products were produced on August 23, 24, 30 and 31 of this year and were later distributed to nationwide retail locations.
Cargill has a long and sordid history of recalls and association with foodborne illnesses. Over the years, Cargill has been linked to 10 major outbreaks, 10 deaths, three stillbirths and 347 illnesses. In an interview with the L.A. Times, food safety attorney Bill Marler reasoned, “If a car manufacturer had the same numbers on an ongoing defect, what would we say? What if it was an airline?” Accordingly, punitive damages were alleged in a complaint filed by Marler Clark attorneys after Cargill’s products were first linked to the multistate Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak. Attorney Bill Marler