More ground turkey recalls at Cargill

by Eric Schroeder
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WICHITA, KAS. — Cargill Value Added Meats Retail, a business unit of Wichita-based Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., has implemented an immediate Class I voluntary recall of approximately 185,000 lbs of 85% lean fresh ground turkey products produced at the company’s Springdale, Ark., facility on Aug. 23, 24, 30 and 31, 2011, due to possible contamination from Salmonella Heidelberg. The recall follows a confirmed test sample taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture during a post-Aug. 3 recall review of the processing facility, which yielded low levels of the same Salmonella Heidelberg strain that appears to match the strain previously associated with human illness.

Cargill said it voluntarily has suspended production of ground turkey products at its Springdale facility until additional corrective actions are identified by the company and reviewed and approved by the U.S.D.A. The company already has had corrective actions in place as the result of an Aug. 3 recall in which Cargill pulled 36 million lbs of ground turkey from the market.

No illnesses have been associated with the most recently recalled products, Cargill said.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are acting quickly in response to U.S.D.A.’s sample testing,” said Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill’s turkey processing business. “Although there are no known illnesses associated with this positive sample, it is the same Salmonella Heidelberg strain that resulted in our voluntary recall on Aug. 3, 2011. As a result of this latest U.S.D.A. test result, we have suspended ground turkey production at our Arkansas facility until additional measures can be identified, approved by U.S.D.A., then implemented, which is similar to the process we previously employed when working with the agency.

“We go to great lengths to ensure the food we produce is safe each serving, every time, which makes the identification and reduction of naturally and randomly occurring bacteria so challenging and often frustrating. Our resolve to determine how best to reduce human health risks from these bacteria remains unwavering.”
Cargill said other turkey products made at the Springdale facility are not part of the recall, and no products from the company’s other three turkey processing facilities are involved in the recall.

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