As of May 17, 2021, a total of 33 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Hadar were reported from 14 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 28, 2020, to April 22, 2021.

Sick people ranged in age from less than 1 to 92 years, with a median age of 49 years. Sixty-six percent of people were female. Of 22 people with information available, four were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

State and local public health officials interviewed people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 13 people interviewed,  eight (62%) reported eating ground turkey. This percentage was significantly higher than results from a 2018-2019 survey of healthy people in which 13% of respondents reported eating ground turkey in the week before they were interviewed. This suggested that people in this outbreak got sick from eating ground turkey.

Public health investigators used the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that were part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples were closely related genetically. This means that people in this outbreak likely got sick from the same food.

USDA-FSIS collected an unopened package of ground turkey from a sick person’s freezer for testing. Testing results showed that the ground turkey contained the outbreak strain of Salmonella. The traceback investigation found that the ground turkey purchased by the sick person was produced by Plainville Brands, LLC.

Not all illnesses were linked to ground turkey produced by Plainville Brands, LLC. Sick people reported buying many different brands of ground turkey from multiple stores, and USDA-FSIS’s traceback investigation identified several turkey processing facilities. The outbreak strain was also identified in routine turkey samples, from multiple companies, collected by USDA-FSIS and state officials from 13 establishments.

WGS predicted that Salmonella bacteria from 33 people’s samples and 19 turkey samples were resistant to one or both of the antibiotics streptomycin and tetracycline. Most people with Salmonella illness recover without antibiotics. However, if an antibiotic is needed for an infection related to this outbreak, this resistance likely will not affect the choice of antibiotic used to treat most people.

On April 10, USDA-FSIS issued a public health alertexternal icon for approximately 211,406 pounds of raw ground turkey products produced by Plainville Brands, LLC. These products had the establishment number “P-244” inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mark of inspection. They were made from December 18-29, 2020 and were sold nationwide. CDC and FSIS also shared information about this outbreak with members of the National Turkey Federation.

Additional Resources:

Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $800 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.