California state health officials confirmed Tuesday that the nationwide
Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak linked to ground turkey has claimed one
life in Sacramento County. According to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, the antibiotic-resistant salmonella strain, which has
been found in ground turkey samples, is responsible for a total of 77
illnesses in 26 states, but federal food safety officials are not
implicating any one company or initiating a recall.
extensive investigation by [USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service]
and CDC to date, there is little epidemiological information available
at this time that conclusively links these illnesses to any specific
product or establishment,” said FSIS spokesman Neil Gaffney. “Without
specific enough data, it would not be appropriate to issue a recall
notice. FSIS is committed to continuing this investigation in order to
obtain the additional information necessary to find the source of this
outbreak, and take appropriate action to protect public health.”
The agency, which is charged with assuring the safety of the nation’s meat, poultry, and processed egg products, issued a public health alert
on Friday urging consumers to use caution when handling raw turkey and
to, as always, cook all poultry products to an internal temperature of
165 degrees. The most recent CDC update says officials found four retail
ground turkey samples to be positive for the same strain of Salmonella
Heidelberg between early March and late June.
information indicates that three of these products originated from a
common production establishment; the fourth is still under
investigation,” according to CDC. The samples were maintained as part of
routine sampling for the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring
System (NARMS), and have “not been linked to illnesses.” Salmonella is
not considered in adulterant in meat products, so a positive sample does
not automatically spark a recall. .
Local, state and federal
public health officials are collecting information (such as date and
location of purchase of ground turkey) from ill persons to conduct
traceback investigations, according to CDC.
More than half the
states are reporting at least one illness, among them, California,
Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin have the
most people linked to the outbreak.
California is reporting two
illnesses, including the fatality, in Sacramento county, as well as four
other cases in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Riverside counties.
reported seven illnesses, with a broad range of ages–from three to 60.
Press accounts say Illinois Department of Public health confirmed
illnesses are from Oak Park and Cass, DuPage, Madison, Peoria, Will and
Williamson counties. Illnesses ranged from March to late June.
Michigan, ten residents have been linked to the outbreak, including six
in Wayne County, and four individuals in Genesee, Bay, Berrien and
Eaton counties. A Michigan Department of Health official told news
outlets illnesses were reported between May 7 and July 2.
adults and an infant in Wisconsin–from Dane, Kenosha and Milwaukee
counties–have been linked to the outbreak. A State Department of Health
Services spokeswoman told local media that one person was hospitalized
but all have recovered. Illnesses spanned between April and early June.
Ohio, illnesses began for ten residents between April 22 to June 26,
according to the Ohio health department. Seven were males, ranging in
age from five to 72, three from Cuyahoga County, and others from
Franklin, Lake, Lorain, Lucas Mongomery, Summit, and Warren counties,
according to local press accounts.
Pennsylvania has five cases
and Texas is reporting nine. Arizona, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New
York, and Tennessee all have reported two cases each. Alabama, Georgia,
Iowa, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma,
and Oregon have one each, according to CDC.
Cargill under investigation
Late Tuesday night, the New York Times reported that meat and poultry giant Cargill has been contacted as part of the federal investigation into the cause of the outbreak.
company and it’s subsidiaries market a wide variety of turkey products,
including Marval, Honeysuckle White, and Riverside brands.
are cooperating with the agency’s ongoing investigation into the source
of the illnesses,” Mike Martin, a Cargill spokesman, said in an e-mail
message to the Times.