Following a national Salmonella outbreak that has sickened one person in the Bay Area, 36 million pounds of ground turkey were recalled according to the California Department of Health.
The voluntary recall from Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. on fresh and frozen ground turkey, which has been linked to the Salmonella Heidelberg bacteria, affected items produced in the company’s Springdale, Ark., plant, said Patrick Kennelly, chief of the Food Safety Section of the California Department of Public Health.
Of the six cases of Salmonella Heidelberg in the state, one victim from San Francisco reported the infection in June, health department officials said.
State health officials have also confirmed that one fatality from the contamination was reported in Sacramento, where another non-fatal case was also identified. Both had exposure to ground turkey, Kennelly said.
Salmonella Heidelberg, which is resistant to many commonly prescribed medications, has also infected individuals in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego counties.
On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture identified ground turkey as a possible source of the contamination.
Eileen Shields, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said she did not know if ground turkey was a factor in the city’s reported infection.
Since the outbreak was first reported in March, 77 people in 26 states have fallen ill, according to the health department. California is one of five states with six or more cases of the bacteria.
The one reported instance in San Francisco does not yet necessitate an investigation, city health officials said.
“In general, when we have more cases than expected clustered in some way, such as linked in time or location, we would consider if a possible outbreak needed to be investigated,” said Dr. Susan Fernyak, director of San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Communicable Disease Control and Prevention.
The state health department is advising safeguards against Salmonella infection. Officials recommend thoroughly cooking poultry to 165 degrees, washing all surfaces immediately after contact with raw meat or poultry, and refrigerating raw and cooked meat within two hours of purchasing or cooking.
Ground turkey distributed by Honeysuckle White, Riverside and Kroger brands in California dated from Feb. 20 through Aug. 2 have been affected by the recall. For a full list of recalled items, consumers can visit www.cargill.com.
“Check refrigerators and freezers to see if any of the items are subject to recall. If the item is unopened, it should be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund or thrown away,” Kennelly said.
If the product has been opened, consumers should throw it away and wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water to prevent any illness.
Those infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after contamination. Typically, the illness last from four to seven days and most recover without treatment. In some cases, the diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is necessary.
Anyone experiencing similar symptoms is directed to seek medical attention.
Rachel Purdy, Bay City News