In The News: Company Announces Massive Ground Turkey Recall

Reader Contribution by Justine Patton
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During the past year, I’ve been opting for ground lean turkey instead of ground beef when cooking. I’ve found that if I season and top a ground turkey patty the same way I would a regular hamburger (with mustard, pickles and a lot of cheese), I really can’t tell the difference at all. A similar effect occurs when I use ground turkey in recipes that call for beef, like spaghetti. I had good reason to make the switch: Substituting ground turkey breast for ground beef takes 200 calories, 7 grams of fat and 4 grams of saturated fat off of your meal.

I’m not alone in my new eating habits. Grocery shoppers purchase around 5 billion pounds of ready-to-cook turkey meat in the United States each year, which is double the amount of what it was 40 years ago.

Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, the company that produces the turkey meat I’ve eaten twice this week, announced a massive recall of 36 million pounds of ground turkey meat because of possible Salmonella contamination. The products were produced between February 20, 2011 and August 2, 2011. I panicked a little when I read this news, and then I started this blog to inform our readers about the dangers.

Ground turkey has been linked to a Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak across the United States.
Photo by bmann/ Courtesy

Health officials reported on Tuesday that this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg is multi-drug resistant, has killed one person and sickened 76 others in 26 states. Ground turkey products produced at Cargill’s Arkansas processing facility seem to be the source. Salmonella causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and can lead to dehydration 

Cargill has since stopped production at this facility until the specific cause of contamination is discovered. Any unopened or opened packages can be returned for a full refund. For the full product list, click here.

Here are some tips about how to prevent Salmonella poisoning from the folks at the Mayo Clinic:

• Wash your hands.
• Store raw meat, poultry and seafood away from other foods in your refrigerator to prevent cross-contamination.
• Never place cooked food on an unwashed plate that previously held raw meat.
• If possible, have two cutting boards in your kitchen–one for raw meat and the other for fruits and vegetables.
• Avoid eating raw eggs or products with raw eggs in them, such as cookie dough, homemade ice cream and eggnog. 

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