Cargill US recalls turkey after salmonella outbreak

US meat producer Cargill has announced it is undertaking the second biggest recall of meat in the nation’s history after salmonella in turkeymeat killed one person and sickened a further 70 in 26 states

The recall of 36m pounds (16,300 metric tons) of ground turkeymeat is second only to a recall of 143m pounds (64,863 metric tons) of beef undertaken in 2010.

The meat being recalled was processed at its Springdale, Arkansas facility from 20 February this year through to the second of August and is believed to be contaminated with Salmonella Heidelberg strain.

Salmonella Heidelberg is a common strain of salmonella in the USA and Canada and is know to be resistant to a variety of antibiotics.

In a statement Cargill said they were suspending production from the plant and were working with the Centre For Disease Control (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to work out how their meat became contaminated.

“Suspending production until we can determine the source of the Salmonella Heidelberg at our Arkansas facility, and take corrective action, is the right thing to do,” said Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill’s turkey processing business.

“We are closely examining every aspect of our production process and have identified enhancements to our procedures in our efforts to ensure safe food. Eliminating food-borne illness is always our goal.”