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Salmonella scare leads to turkey product recall

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to search for the source of a salmonella outbreak that has killed one person and left more than 70 others seriously ill. After an internal investigation, Cargill has decided to recall 36 million pounds of potentially contaminated products made from fresh and frozen ground turkey. In addition, the company has stopped all production of ground turkey at the Arkansas facility suspected to be the source of the salmonella outbreak.

Illnesses have been reported all over the country, with Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Illinois reporting the largest number of affected parties. Food poisoning strikes millions of Americans every year. Salmonella poisoning is particularly concerning because it is resistant to many antibiotics and can cause death in extreme cases. The CDC estimates that roughly 3,000 people die every year from contaminated foods, primarily because of the salmonella bacteria.

The products recalled include a range of different brand names and packages. The recalled turkey products all included the code Est. P-963 on the packages. The first illnesses in this outbreak were reported in March. More reports continue to come in as investigators try to narrow the list of potentially contaminated products. Officials are concerned that, because of the long shelf life of frozen turkey, people will continue to be exposed to the contaminated products even if the recall is effective.

The first symptoms of salmonella poisoning can show up from 8 to 72 hours after ingestion. If you have purchased ground turkey products, you should check the packaging to see if they have been recalled. The size of the recall, one of the largest ever recorded, indicates the possibility that countless Americans have been exposed to a dangerous product.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "36M lbs. of Cargill turkey recalled in salmonella outbreak," Mary Clare Jalonick, 4 August 2011

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