USDA Announces Recall of 36 Million Pounds of Ground Turkey

woman washing hands
( — A drug-resistant strain of Salmonella from ground turkey has killed one person and sickened at least 79 others.

Cargill is recalling 36 million pounds of turkey products after an
outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg killed one and sickened 77 others in
the third-largest such recall in U.S. history.

Nearly 40% of people sickened have been hospitalized.

While the Salmonella strain found in the turkey products is dangerous, it’s easily killed by cooking.  Be sure to cook all poultry to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Don’t guess: Use a food thermometer to be sure.

The meats, although processed by Cargill, were listed under many different brand names. The majority was labeled under Honeysuckle White, but other brands include Riverside Ground Turkey, Natural Lean Ground Turkey, Fit & Active Ground Turkey, Spartan Ground Turkey and Shady Brook Farms Ground Turkey Burgers. Other ground turkey products packaged under HEB, Safeway, Kroger’s, Randall’s, Tom Thumb and Giant Eagle store brands were also recalled. All of the recalled brands include the code “Est. P-963.” A complete list can be found at the Cargill web site.

The Agriculture Department and Cargill, based in Minnesota, announced the recall after finding that three cases of the illness could be tracked back to products made at the company’s plant in Springdale, Ark., from Dec. 20 through Aug. 2.

Illnesses related to the outbreak date back to March, and have been reported in 26 states. Michigan and Ohio had the most reports, with 10 people reporting a related illness. Texas reported nine and Illinois reported seven.

Follow These Tips from the CDC to Avoid Salmonella Poisoning

  1.  Wash Your Hands Be sure to also wash kitchen surfaces and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry. Then be sure to disinfect surfaces that have been in contact with raw meat using a freshly prepared solution of 1 tablespoon unscented liquid chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water.
  2. Cook Poultry Thoroughly Ground turkey and ground turkey dishes should always be cooked to 165 °F internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer; leftovers also should be reheated to 165 °F. Turkey can remain pink even after cooking to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. The meat of smoked turkey is always pink. Be particularly careful with foods prepared for infants, older adults, and persons with impaired immune systems. For more information, visit If Served Something Undercooked, Send It Back If you go to a restaurant and noticed your poultry is undercooked — send it back to the kitchen.
  3. Avoid Cross-Contamination Uncooked meats should be kept separate from produce, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods. Hands, cutting boards, counters, knives, and other utensils should be washed thoroughly after touching uncooked foods.
  4.  Refrigerate Refrigerate raw and cooked meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking. Refrigerators should be set to maintain a temperature of 40 °F or below.