Despite Cargill's voluntary recall, the USDA and CDC are still working to identify the source of the outbreak. In April, 12 people fell ill amid a salmonella outbreak that prompted the recall of nearly 55,000 pounds of Jennie-O turkey burgers. The ground turkey recall affects more than 25 different types of meat. Other brands include Riverside Ground Turkey, Natural Lean Ground Turkey, Fit & Active Lean Ground Turkey, Spartan Ground Turkey and Shady Brook Farms Ground Turkey Burgers. In 2010, the Cargill turkey plant that just recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey had 3 positive tests for Salmonella Heidelberg, which is the strain the public learned last Friday was linked to 78 illnesses and one death in 26 states. Notably, Brian Hartman's questions only reference the 4 retail positives from 2011.
Consumer advocates are sharply questioning the government's handling of the ongoing, 26-state Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak that sparked a 36 million pound ground turkey recall from meat giant Cargill Wednesday night. In May, CSPI petitioned USDA to declare antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg, Salmonella Newport, Salmonella Hadar, and Salmonella Typhimurium "adulterants" under federal law, making products that contain them illegal to sell. USDA only recalls products contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Salmonella after those products have been definitively tied to illnesses. Poultry plants are tested periodically for Salmonella, according to Goldman, and Cargill's Springdale plant was tested last year. Local, state, and federal public health officials are working to identify and link illnesses to the outbreak.