MINNETONKA, Minn., Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Cargill Inc. said Wednesday it is recalling about 36 million pounds of ground turkey produced at its Arkansas plant linked to a deadly salmonella outbreak.
Cargill Value Added Meats Retail, a business unit of Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. in Wichita, Kan., a subsidiary of Cargill Inc. of Minnetonka, Minn., said the fresh and frozen ground turkey products were produced at its Springdale, Ark., plant from Feb. 20 until Tuesday.
Cargill said in a release it initiated the recall as a result of its internal investigation, along with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an ongoing U.S. Agriculture Department Food Safety and Inspection Service investigation into multiple cases of Salmonella Heidelberg food poisoning.
The New York Times reported one person in California has died in the outbreak and at least 76 have become sick.
Cargill said it has suspended production of ground turkey products at the Springdale facility until it is able to determine the source of the Salmonella Heidelberg and take corrective actions.
Other turkey products produced at Springdale are not part of the recall, Cargill said, adding no products from its other three U.S. processing plants are involved in the recall.
"While facts continue to be gathered, and currently there is no conclusive answer regarding the source of Salmonella Heidelberg contamination, given our concern for what has happened, and our desire to do what is right for our consumers and customers, we are voluntarily removing our ground turkey products from the marketplace," said Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill's turkey processing business. "Additionally, we have suspended ground turkey production at our Arkansas facility until the source can be pinpointed and actions to address it are taken.
"It is regrettable that people may have become ill from eating one of our ground turkey products and, for anyone who did, we are truly sorry. We go to great lengths to ensure the food we produce is safe and we fully understand that people expect to be able to consume safe food, each serving, every time."
Consumers are urged to return any opened or unopened packages of ground turkey items listed on Cargill's Website -- www.cargill.com/turkey-recall -- to stores where they were purchased for a full refund. Consumers also can call Cargill toll-free at 1-888-812-1646.