Multiple cases of salmonellosis, the food poisoning associated with the bacteria Salmonella Schwarzengrund, prompted a multi-agency investigation, which ultimately led to Butterball’s turkey recall. Six people living in three states have contracted Salmonella from eating ground turkey produced in a facility owned by Butterball, LLC.
The FDA has classed this recall as Class I, meaning consumers’ risk of illness is high.
Salmonella Outbreak Catches Attention of Four Safety Agencies
Multiple federal and state agencies worked together to investigate the initial outbreak of Salmonella after reports were filed in two states with at least five known victims. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection all took part in the investigation.
The multi-agency investigation eventually led to the discovery of three unopened packages of Butterball ground turkey, which all tested positive for Salmonella. The ground turkey samples were collected from freezers in the homes of several victims. The Salmonella found in these samples was closely genetically related to the strain that was known to have made consumers sick.
The Victim Count Increases
The Salmonella outbreak is continuing to impact consumers as you read this. In the five days between the announcement of Butterball’s turkey recall and the publication of the CDC’s report, another victim in an entirely different state came forward. There is no way to know how many more cases will be identified in the coming days and weeks. It is also possible that many cases of Salmonella caused by this tainted food product have gone unreported.
Since consumers have had access to the ground turkey products for months, it seems likely that more cases may yet be reported. The CDC says the investigation into this turkey recall is ongoing. If you suspect you or a loved one have ingested the recalled Butterball products, consult a food safety attorney to learn more about your rights as a consumer.
The Wide-Reaching Effects of This Turkey Recall
This turkey recall presents a very real danger to American consumers. Based on its production and sell-by dates, the contaminated food in question is no longer in retail stores. That means that the products have most likely been purchased, and may be in many households as we speak.
The turkey recall includes more than 78,000 pounds of ground turkey labeled with the Butterball brand name, as well as with some products labeled with store brand names. As a prolific poultry producer, Butterball ships food products all over the country, with most of its products coming from the facility associated with this outbreak.
Not only are individual households at risk when it comes to contaminated food, but so are organizations like hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants, hotels, and food banks. As a matter of fact, three of the facilities the USDA confirmed as having received shipments of this contaminated turkey were food banks.
The USDA’s FSIS released a list of locations that have received shipments of the contaminated ground turkey, but it is important to remember the facility processing the recalled turkey did actually ship their product all over the country. The locations identified by FSIS are not a comprehensive list.
The locations individually identified by the FSIS are:
- Second Harvest Heartland in Maplewood, MN
- Second Harvest Food Bank in Raleigh, NC
- Joseph Food Program in Menasha, WI
- Demoulas in Andover, MA
List of Recalled Turkey Products
The recalled turkey products, which were produced in July, 2018, can be identified by the mark “EST. P-7345” in the USDA inspection label. The recalled products are packaged as follows:
- 48 oz. “Butterball everyday Fresh Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring (85% lean/15% fat)” in a plastic wrapped tray with a sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18
- 48 oz. “Butterball everyday Fresh Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring (93% lean/7% fat)” in a plastic wrapped tray with a sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18
- 16 oz. “Butterball everyday Fresh Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring (85% lean/15% fat)” in a plastic wrapped tray with a sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18
- 16 oz. “Butterball everyday Fresh Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring (93% lean/7% fat)” in a plastic wrapped tray with a sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18
- 48 oz. “Kroger Ground Turkey Fresh 85% Lean- 15% Fat” in a plastic wrapped tray with a sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18
- 48 oz. “Food Lion 15% fat ground turkey with natural flavorings” in a plastic wrapped tray with a sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18
What to Do With Contaminated Turkey
Because this ground turkey was produced and sold last summer, consumers will, most likely, not find it for sale in stores. However, it may be in their freezers. If you regularly buy ground turkey, especially the brands or retailers listed above, inspect products in your freezer for the mark “EST. P-7345” inside the USDA inspection label.
If you have purchased ground turkey with this label, throw it out or return it to the place of purchase. The FDA is urging consumers not to eat this contaminated food.
How Salmonella Outbreaks Can Affect Your Family
Salmonella is a very uncomfortable and painful illness. It primarily affects your gastrointestinal tract, but can cause other symptoms as well. It can also lead to complications if not properly treated. Within 12 to 72 hours after consuming food tainted with Salmonella, most people will experience:
- Abdominal Cramps
Many cases of Salmonella are mild, lasting 4-7 days, and require no medical intervention for a full recovery. For some unfortunate consumers, however, the diarrhea caused by the salmonellosis bacteria requires medical attention. Severe and prolonged diarrhea can cause dehydration, and can be incredibly painful and disrupting.
Salmonella can also spread from the intestines to the bloodstream, creating conditions for a potentially life-threatening infection. Seek medical attention for Salmonella symptoms that indicate severe dehydration or infection, such as:
- Infrequent urination
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth
- High fever
- Abdominal tenderness or swelling
Exposure to Salmonella is especially dangerous to vulnerable patients, including:
- Small children
- Elderly adults
- Those with weakened immune systems
- Pregnant women
Most of the victims of this food recall have been in this group of vulnerable consumers, including a 1-year-old child and a 71-year-old adult. The CDC reports that the particular strain of Salmonella involved in this turkey recall shows signs of antibiotic resistance, indicating that early medical attention will be of particular importance for successful treatment.
If you have had to seek medical attention for a food borne illness related to a contaminated food product, you have rights. Contact a food safety attorney to learn more.
Our Food Safety Attorneys Can Help!
If you have recently purchased and consumed ground turkey products, you have every reason to be concerned. The ground turkey making people sick all across the country may be in your freezer now, or you may have fed it to your family at some point in the last several months.
A large national producer like Butterball has a responsibility to provide safe food to the American public. Consumers have a right to expect safety from a nationally-recognized brand, especially when they also produce the store-brand products on which so many consumers rely.
Fortunately, large companies like Butterball are not immune to justice. When they betray the trust of American consumers and harm results, our food safety attorneys are here to fight. If this turkey recall has affected your family, contact Bad Food Recall now. Call us at 877-534-5750, or fill out our online form.