Three food banks were among the institutions and retailers nationwide shipped ground turkey now being recalled in a multi-state salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least six people in three states.
Butterball, perhaps the nation’s best-known turkey brand, recalled 39 tons of raw turkey possibly tainted with salmonella and distributed to institutions and major grocery chains, including Kroger and Food Lion, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said this week.
An incomplete list released Friday by the FSIS identified four locations that received the recalled product, including Second Harvest Heartland in Maplewood, Minnesota; Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC in Raleigh, North Carolina; and St. Joseph Food Program in Menasha, Wisconsin. A retailer, Market Basket, in Andover, Massachusetts, was also named, and had the recall notice posted on its site.
North Carolina-based Butterball recalled just over 78,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products that could be contaminated with what’s known as salmonella schwarzengrund, according to the FSIS. The agency urged consumers not to consume the recalled product and to instead discard or return it to their local store (see list below and product images here).
“Because these products were packaged nine months ago, it is highly unlikely any of the product will be found in retail stores, but it is possible that consumers may have product in their freezers,” Butterball said in its own release. The recalled product would have a use-or-sell-by date of July 26, 2018. Still, turkey can be stored unopened in the freezer for up to three years and still be safe to cook, although its quality might start to diminish after seven months.
Salmonella is a group of bacteria consisting of some 2,500 different strains, with salmonella schwarzengrund among the types. Eating food contaminated with salmonella can cause symptoms including abdominal cramps and fever 12 to 72 hours later. The illness, which usually last four to seven days, can be more dangerous for the elderly, infants and those with weakened immune symptoms.
The possible Butterball contamination was discovered by federal and state public health officials investigating a multistate outbreak of salmonella schwarzengrund that sickened five people in two states. Wisconsin officials collected three Butterball brand ground turkey samples from a residential home where four residents had fallen ill.
The fifth illness occurred in Minnesota, with most of the illnesses occurring in the December-January timeframe, a spokesperson for Butterball said.
The recall involves one day of product from one plant, Butterball’s facility in Mt. Olive, North Carolina. The 675,000-square-foot facility outside Raleigh is the largest turkey processing plant in the world, processing 17 million turkeys a year, according to Butterball.
A different strain of salmonella in raw turkey products has resulted in one death and 279 illnesses in people from 41 states and the District of Columbia. There have been multiple recalls of raw turkey products in recent months, including Jennie-O’s adding 164,000 pounds in December to its prior month’s recall of 90,000 pounds.
In an alert Thursday evening, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was investigating the outbreak that prompted the Butterball recall, which the agency said had also sickened a sixth person residing in North Carolina. One person has been hospitalized, the CDC said.
“Ill people in the earlier outbreak were infected with a different type of salmonella called salmonella reading. At this time, it does not appear that these two outbreaks are related,” a CDC spokesperson emailed CBS MoneyWatch.
Produced July 7, 2018, the following Butterball prepackaged raw ground turkey products are being recalled (all have “EST. P-7345” inside the USDA mark of inspection):