Turkey burgers linked to Salmonella cases in 10 states

Apr 4, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – Jennie-O Turkey Store has recalled certain shipments of its ground turkey burgers after Salmonella illness investigations in three states found links to the product, which is now thought to have sickened 12 people in 10 states, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in an Apr 1 notice.

The USDA warned consumers that the ongoing investigation by its Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) could lead to the recall of more raw turkey products, and it alerted the public to take extra precautions when preparing all such products.

Jennie-O, based in Willmar, Minn., recalled 54,960 pounds of frozen raw turkey burgers that were packaged on Nov 23, 2010, and distributed to retail chains nationwide. The recall applies to 4-pound boxes of Jennie-O Turkey Store All Natural Turkey Burgers with seasonings and lean white meat. They have a use-by date of Dec 23, 2011.

The illnesses first came to light when the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services notified the FSIS of a patient that was diagnosed with an infection caused by Salmonella enterica serotype Hadar. The investigation expanded to include 12 people who had similar infections between December 2010 and Mar 2011 in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Along with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health partners, the FSIS found that three patients in Colorado, Ohio, and Wisconsin reported that they had eaten turkey burgers before they got sick and were hospitalized. The last such illness was reported on Mar 14.

The USDA said its joint investigation with health agency partners and the company is continuing.

It advised consumers to prevent salmonellosis and other foodborne infections by washing hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry and to cook poultry, including ground turkey burgers, to 165° F before serving.

Most people infected with Salmonella experience diarrhea, often with fever and abdominal cramps, within 12 to 72 hours after infection. Most recover in 4 to 7 days without treatment, but elderly people, infants, and those with an impaired immune system may suffer severe illness.

Meanwhile, in an ongoing investigation of a Salmonella outbreak linked to a Rhode Island bakery's pastries, the state's health department said tests found the pathogen on cardboard boxes used to store empty pastry shells, the Providence Journal reported on Apr 2. The boxed had previously held raw eggs.

Annemarie Beardsworth, spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDH), told the Journal that more tests on the Salmonella found on the boxes are under way to determine if it matches the outbreak strain.

The RIDH reported ninemore illnesses linked to the outbreak on Apr 1, raising the total to 56, including 26 hospitalizations and one death. The investigation so far has linked the infections to zeppole, an Italian pastry produced and distributed to several outlets by DeFusco's Bakery in Johnston.

See also:

Apr 1 USDA recall notice

Apr 2 Providence Journal story

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