Cargill Meat Solutions is recalling Your Fresh Market brand ground beef products from the marketplace due to possible E. coli O157 contamination, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced Monday.

The public is being advised not to consume the recalled products described below, which have been sold at Walmart stores in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
Your Fresh Market Extra Lean Ground Beef Sirloin 475 g Best Before 2014.NO.28 6 05388 18363 7
Your Fresh Market Extra Lean Ground Beef 475 g Best Before 2014.NO.28 6 05388 18369 9
Your Fresh Market Medium Ground Beef 475 g Best Before 2014.NO.28 6 05388 18365 1
Your Fresh Market Lean Ground Beef 475 g Best Before 2014.NO.28 and 2014.NO.29 6 05388 18376 7
Your Fresh Market Extra Lean Ground Beef 900 g Best Before 2014.NO.28 6 05388 18372 9
Your Fresh Market Lean Ground Beef 900 g Best Before 2014.NO.28 6 05388 18378 1
Your Fresh Market Lean Ground Beef 1.6 kg Best Before 2014.NO.28 and 2014.NO.29 6 05388 18379 8

 

Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

Food contaminated with E. coli O157 may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, mild to severe abdominal cramps and watery to bloody diarrhea. In severe cases of illness, some people may have seizures or strokes, need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis or live with permanent kidney damage. In severe cases of illness, people may die.

This recall was triggered by test results. CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The agency is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

For more information: Cargill Meat Solutions, Connie Tamoto, Communications Manager, Cargill, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Office: (204) 947-6187, Mobile: (204) 918-0344, connie_tamoto@cargill.com.

Wal-Mart Canada Corp.: Alex Roberton, Director, Corporate Affairs & Social Media, (905) 821-2111, ext. 75402, alex.roberton@walmart.com.

Consumers and industry can contact CFIA by filling out the online feedback form.

Is it because Foster Farms was selling tainted chicken in pieces and Cargill was selling tainted ground beef and turkey? On Friday, CDC reported that a total of 317 individuals infected with multiple outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 20 states and Puerto Rico linked to Foster Farms chicken. Most of those sickened (73 percent) are from California. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alaska (2), Arkansas (1), Arizona (13), California (232), Colorado (4), Connecticut (1), Florida (4), Idaho (2), Kentucky (1), Michigan (2), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Nevada (9), New Mexico (2), Oregon (8), Puerto Rico (1), Texas (9), Utah (2), Virginia (2), Washington (15), and Wisconsin (1). In July 2013, CDC reported that a total of 134 individuals infected with an outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg were reported from 13 states linked to Foster Farms chicken. The number of ill persons identified in each state with the outbreak strain was as follows: Alabama (1), Alaska (13), California (11), Hawaii (1), Idaho (2), Massachusetts (1), Montana (2), New York (1), Oregon (40), Utah (3), Virginia (1), Washington (57), and West Virginia (1). Although FSIS threatened Foster Farms with taking its inspectors and going home, that did not happen. FSIS has told Food Safety News that Foster Farms is working on the problem now.  Apparently, letters one, two and three that FSIS sent to Foster Farms two days ago did the trick. I did a little searching on www.outbreakdatabase.com and found more than a few examples of meat recalls – chicken and beef – due to Salmonella contamination. 2012: Salmonella Enteriditis Due to Contaminated Cargill Ground Beef 40 sick – On July 22, 2012, Cargill Meat Solutions announced a recall of 29,339 pounds of fresh ground beef products due to possible contamination with Salmonella Enteriditis. Using epidemiologic and traceback data, public health investigators in eight states and CDC linked the infections to consumption of Cargill ground beef. 2011: Hannaford Hamburger Ground Beef 20 sick – On Dec. 16, Hannaford, a Scarborough, ME-based grocery chain, recalled fresh ground beef products that may have been contaminated with a strain of Salmonella Typhimurium. The recall resulted from an investigation into human illness. 2011: Cargill Meat Solutions Ground Turkey 136 sick – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert on July 29 due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella Heidelberg that were associated with the use and consumption of ground turkey. 2009: Beef Packers, Inc., Cargill, Ground Beef 2 sick – In December, Beef Packers, Inc., owned by Cargill, recalled more than 20,000 pounds of ground beef contaminated with a drug-resistant strain of Salmonella Newport. The company issued an earlier recall in August 2009 due to contamination of ground beef. 2009: Beef Packers, Inc., Cargill, Ground Beef 68 sick – A Beef Packers, Inc., plant in California owned by Cargill distributed approximately 830,000 pounds of ground beef that was likely contaminated with Salmonella Newport. 2002: Emmpak/Cargill Ground Beef 47 sick – In early 2002, isolates of Salmonella Newport in New York State were found to be resistant to more than nine antibiotics and had a decreased susceptibility to the antibiotic ceftriaxone. It cannot be the numbers of those sickened. Frankly, Foster Farms in two outbreaks has sickened more than Cargill did in six. One form or another of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella caused all of the above outbreaks. Is it because it is ground vs. whole?

A Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak linked to Cargill ground beef is affecting 33 people in 7 Northeastern states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday, a day after the company recalled nearly 30,000 pounds of product.

According to CDC, 11 of those connected to the outbreak have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. An investigation by state, local and federal public health agencies has zeroed in on ground beef processed by Cargill Meat Solutions at a single facility in Pennsylvania as the likely source of the outbreak. Authorities were able to conclusively link illnesses in five case patients to ground beef products produced at the Cargill meat establishment (EST. 9400) after state labs found the outbreak strain in two separate leftover ground beef samples from patient homes.

CDC said that the different agencies would continue coordinating with one another and using PulseNet to identify ill people connected to the outbreak. So far, the illness count for each state is: Maine (1), Massachusetts (3), New Hampshire (2), New York (14), Rhode Island (1), Virginia (2) and Vermont (10). Illness onset dates range from June 6 to June 26 and those sickened range from 12 years to 101 years old. More than half are female.

Though it’s likely most of the recalled meat has been consumed, health officials are urging consumers to check their refrigerators and freezers for any meat that might remain — consumers should return the product for a refund. Since some of the ground beef was repackaged into consumer-sized packages sold at retail, CDC urged consumers to visit the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service website to view the list of stores that carried the beef, which may not bear the EST. 9400 mark.

Cargill Beef’s president John Keating said late Sunday he was “sorry or anyone who became sick from eating ground beef we may have produced.”

“Ensuring our beef products are safe is our highest priority and an investigation is underway to determine the source of Salmonella in the animals we purchased for harvest and any actions necessary to prevent this from recurring,” said Keating.

In a FAQ posted online about the outbreak, Cargill noted that they do not test for Salmonella Enteritidis: “This particular strain of Salmonella Enteritidis in beef has not been linked to a public health problem before, and no validated test for it in fresh beef is commercially available.”

Leading food safety expert David Theno, who helped Jack in the Box reform their practices after the historic 1993 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, told Food Safety News that a regular Salmonella screen would have detected the strain. (Also, it appears that several companies, including DuPont, Roka Bioscience, Cell Biolabs, and BioControl offer relatively rapid testing technology for Salmonella Enteritidis in beef).

“We are not monitoring for Salmonella in beef,” said Michael Martin, director of communications for Cargill. “While it is not an adulterant in beef, Salmonella is monitored by USDA FSIS as part of its ground beef performance standards program. We believe that the food safety interventions we have in place at our beef processing facilities address pathogens that potentially pose human health risks from food borne illness.”

“The challenge remains the ubiquitous existence of naturally and randomly occurring bacteria throughout nature, and ensuring that adequate measures are in place to minimize the risk of food borne illness from these bacteria,” he said, adding that the strain of Salmonella associated with the outbreak is not antibiotic resistant.

Salmonella is not considered an adulterant in meat or poultry products, unless the products are tied to illnesses. In response to a foodborne illness outbreak, product is recalled, but it’s often after much of it is consumed.

Last summer, Cargill was embroiled in a 36 million pound recall of ground turkey for drug-resistant Salmonella —  the largest Class I meat recall in history — several months after the government’s National Antimicrobial Monitoring System (NARMS) was detecting the same strain of Salmonella Heidelberg in retail turkey samples.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) reacted to the ground beef recall by calling for more funding for CDC, which would face an 11 percent budget cut next year under a proposal in the House.

“The weaknesses in our food safety system have once again become abundantly clear,” said DeLauro in a statement. Noting that a recall was not announced until more than a month after illnesses started spiking, the congresswoman called the recall “a clear indication of why we need to provide federal and state public health agencies, including the CDC, with the resources they need to prevent and quickly investigate outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.”

Cargill Beef late Sunday recalled almost 30,000 pounds of 85 percent lean, fresh, ground beef, produced by the company at Wyalusing, PA on May 25, 2012.  The meat may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) associated with an ongoing multiple state outbreak of SE. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said it became aware of the the problem “during the course of an ongoing investigation of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis involving 33 case-patients from 7 states (MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VA, and VT.)”  Hannaford Stores in those states have been named as a retail outlet for that meat by the FSIS. The FSIS statement continued: “Working in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Vermont Department of Health, New York State Department of Health, and New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, FSIS was able to link illnesses in five case-patients to the ground beef products produced at this establishment based on epidemiologic and traceback investigations, as well as in-store reviews. “Illness onset dates among these five case-patients ranged from June 6, 2012 to June 13, 2012. Two of the five case-patients were hospitalized. Leftover product with no packaging information collected during the course of this investigation by the Vermont Department of Health tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis with the outbreak strain. This outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis is drug sensitive, meaning antibiotics can be effective in treating patients who need them. FSIS is continuing to work with CDC and public health partners on the investigation.” Sold at wholesale in 14 pound chub packages, packed 3 chubs to approximately 42 pound cases, it is thought the beef was repackaged for sale to the public by Cargill’s customers. A list of packages associated with the recall can be found on USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service website. “Food borne illnesses are unfortunate and we are sorry for anyone who became sick from eating ground beef we may have produced,” stated John Keating, Cargill Beef president. “Ensuring our beef products are safe is our highest priority and an investigation is underway to determine the source of Salmonella in the animals we purchased for harvest and any actions necessary to prevent this from recurring.” Cargill is contacting its customers to make certain they know which of their ground beef products are affected by this recall. Consumers are urged to return any opened or unopened packages of listed ground beef to retailers. Cargill is working closely with its customers to make certain as much of the product is retrieved as possible. Cargill Beef is a unit of Cargill Meat Solutions, based in Wichita, KS. It in turn it owned by Cargill Inc.,  the international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services employs 139,000 people in 65 countries. And, a few past Cargill Salmonella outbreaks: 136 Ill – Cargill Meat Solutions Ground Turkey 2011 2 Ill – Beef Packers, Inc., Cargill, Ground Beef November, 2009 68 Ill – Beef Packers, Inc., Cargill, Ground Beef June, 2009 47 Ill – Emmpak/Cargill Ground Beef January, 2002

USDA recently disclosed criminal, civil, and administrative actions taken to enforce the federal meat and poultry inspection acts during the last three months of last year.

In a 47-page enforcement report for the period that marks the first quarter of the federal fiscal year, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) slices and dices all its regulatory actions into data for the quarter.

Federal meat inspectors were busy overseeing the slaughter of 38.656 million animals and more than 2.1 billion birds, mostly chickens and turkeys, during the final three months of 2011.

Not all meat makes it.  Just over 400,00 pounds of domestic meat, poultry and eggs were detained in 65 separate actions with another 1.387 million pounds detained from foreign sources, according to FSIS.

For the meat and poultry business, however, the enforcement report is like the traffic cop’s ticket book as it includes details on all the infractions the industry has committed. These include everything from a small administrative speed bump to doing felony time in one of those federal big houses.

On the civil side in the new report, USDA sought to close down two poultry operations for violations of the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA).   In the case involving 44th Avenue Halal Poultry Corporation and Hakim Abdul Mazumder, a permanent injunction was imposed against the operation.  In the other, involving S&N Bhuiyan Corp., a pending civil complaint seeks injunctive relief.

Woburn, MA-based Joseph’s Industrial Catering Corp. was fined $5,000 last Dec. 14 and permanently enjoined for violations of both the PPIA and the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA).  A consent decree first imposed on the company in 1995 was being violated.

Criminal actions were taken against individuals associated with four companies.

Fiberto Berrios of San Juan, PR was sentenced to a one-year prison term along with a one-year of supervised probation and a $5,000 fine for violations of both FMIA and the PPIA.  

Berrios earlier pleaded to purchasing and transporting misbranded meat and poultry products.   His agreement including pleading guilty to one felony court for offering to sell adulterated meat in commerce with intent to defraud. He was originally charged with eight felony counts.

Gardena, CA-based Paisano Meat Co. and Jose Cruz Lopez Perez were originally charged in a 2010 indictment with 10 felony counts for preparing and selling meat products adulterated with sodium sulfite. He has now pleaded to one count, and is awaiting sentencing.

Two felony and two misdemeanor counts were brought against the San Jose, CA-based Trinh Company, its owner Jenny H.  Mai, and employee Linda Chen Mai.  The indictment charges meat products were misbranded with intent to defraud and falsely represented the meat as being inspected.

Finally, Belcamp, MD-based United Source One was sentenced for two criminal misdemeanors involving the false and fraudulent altering of an official certificate for meat and poultry export.   

United One Source is a food supplier, exporting to 10 foreign markets.

A fine of $100,000 per count was imposed along with a requirement to pay restitution of $75,000 to the USDA for costs associated with the investigation, a $250,000 special assessment and three years probation.

Administrative action against the individual meat and poultry plants that are under FSIS inspection make up the largest part of the Enforcement Report.  Included are 22 administrative actions against America’s largest meat plants.

Giant Cargill Meat Solutions faced administrative actions in Fort Morgan, CO; Dodge City, KS; Friona, TX and Springdale, AR.  In three, USDA took a “withholding action,” denying inspection for a day or part of a day.

Hastings, NE-based Nebraska Prime Group, Windom, MN-based PM Beef, Austin, MN-based Quality Pork Processors, and Guymon, OK-based Seaboard Foods faced administrative actions for the inhumane treatment and/or slaughter of animals.

Tyson Fresh Meat plants in four of six cities were also on the receiving end of administrative action for inhuman treatment, as was the Swift Pork facility in Worthington, MN.

Administrative actions were taken at more than 80 small plants. Fowler, CA-based Bobby Salazar’s Food Products, Sylmar, CA-base Graciana Tamale, and Fullerton, CA-based Nina Mia Inc. all operated without the benefit of federal inspection.

Hayward, CA-based Windsor Quality Food is said to have violated a regulatory control action.

More than 120 “very small establishments” also made the list for administrative actions.  Most of these are small meat grinders or processors, working out of grocery meat departments or small meat shops.

A Salmonella outbreak traced to Cargill Inc. ground turkey has claimed 130 more victims – workers laid off at the company’s Springdale, Ark, processing plant.

“We have people who don’t have any work,” Cargill spokesman Mike Martin told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The Minnesota-based meat company, which employs a total of 1,200 people at the Arkansas plant, said the layoffs were necessitated by the continued shutdown of the turkey processing line. Located in the Arkansas poultry-growing region, it produces about half of Cargill’s “Honeysuckle” brand turkey products, and the company’s other turkey plant, in Virginia, can’t make up for that lost production, Martin said.

Cargill’s crisis dates to Aug. 3, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) reported that a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg had been traced to the Cargill plant.  Cargill Meat Solutions, the turkey subsidiary, recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey that could possibly be contaminated.

The plant was cleaned, then reopened a few days later.  But the company closed the turkey processing again on Sept. 11 and recalled another 185,000 pounds of ground turkey.

Martin said the company is waiting for clearance from the Agriculture Department to resume ground turkey production at the Springdale plant. “We are talking to the USDA virtually daily to see what it takes to re-start ground turkey production,” Martin told the Star Tribune.

The recall and closure have severely hurt turkey sales by one of the nation’s biggest turkey producers, Martin said.

The outbreak, which began in February, sickened 129 people in 34 states, from California to New England and the Deep South.   A California man died of Salmonella poisoning.

The worst-hit states were Texas and the Upper Midwest.

The onset of new illness was as recent at Sept. 13.

Ten more cases and two more states have been added to the Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak associated with Cargill ground turkey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

honeysucklewhitechub-internal.jpg

The outbreak, which prompted the largest Class I recall in history, has so far spread over 34 states, sickening 129 and killing a California man.

In its update on the outbreak, the CDC said the patients became sick between Feb. 27 and Sept. 13.  Texas reported 17 cases; Illinois 16; Michigan and Ohio 12 each; Missouri 7; California and Pennsylvania 6 each; Colorado, North Carolina and Wisconsin 4 each; Arizona, Kansas, Massachusetts and South Dakota 3 each; Georgia,  Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma and Tennessee 2 each; and Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah and Vermont 1 each.

The patients ranged in age from less than 1 year to 90.  Among 88 people with information about treatment available, 33 were hospitalized; a hospitalization rate of 38 percent.

Salmonella Heidelberg is resistant to several antibiotics, including ampicillin, streptomycin, tetracycline and gentamicin. The CDC notes that antimicrobial resistance may increase the risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure.

The outbreak came to the public’s attention July 29 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a national health alert

 Advising people to cook frozen or fresh ground turkey products to an internal temperature of 165˚ F.  FSIS did not name a brand of turkey.

Five days later, Aug. 3, Cargill  Meat Solutions recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey that had been processed at its Springdale, AR plant – establishment number P-963. On Sept. 11, Cargill recalled another 185,000 pounds of ground turkey when Salmonella Heidelberg turned up in more samples at the plant. FSIS confirmed on Sept. 27 that one positive sample was confirmed to have the outbreak strain.

Is this outbreak over?  Illnesses that occurred after Sept. 1 might not be reported yet, according to the CDC.

The CDC posted this timeline of the outbreak:

May 23: CDC PulseNet identified multistate cluster of Salmonella Heidelberg infections (30 ill persons, 17 states) and began monitoring for additional illnesses. Investigators noted two ground turkey isolates matching the outbreak strain that were uploaded to PulseNet by Minnesota on April 11, 2011 (retail sample 1) and by New Mexico on May 11, 2011 (retail sample 2) as part of NARMS surveillance.

May 26:  CDC began coordinating a multistate investigation, Minnesota reported retail Sample 1 was Brand A produced at establishment P-963.

June 1: CDC notified USDA-FIS. Frequent discussions between both agencies continue throughout the investigation.

June 16 – June 21: Exposure information from 19 ill persons revealed no single food that stood out as a likely source: 37 percent reported eating multiple brands and types of ground turkey.

June 21 – July 7: CDC asked states to use an expanded questionnaire to further examine other possible sources in addition to ground turkey.

July 19: FSIS began first traceback investigation of ground turkey as shopper card details received; purchased from three ill persons linked to P-963.

July 29: Tests of leftover ground turkey from the home of an ill person in Ohio yielded Salmonella Heidelberg. Laboratory analysis identified two closely related DNA ‘fingerprint’ patterns: one an exact match to the outbreak strain.

FSIS informed Cargill Meat Solutions about epidemiologic data, information from traceback of ground turkey products, and analysis of distribution records indicating establishment P-963 is a likely, but not definitive, source of the outbreak.

Aug. 1: CDC posted initial web announcement about the investigation.

Aug. 3: FSIS reported that the source of ground turkey for Brand B Retail Sample 3 was establishment P-963. Thirty (54 percent) of 56 interviewed ill persons reported eating any ground turkey prepared at home in the week before illness.

Cargill Meat Solutions recalled approximately 36 million pounds of ground turkey products that may be contaminated with a multi-drug resistant strain of Salmonella Heidelberg.

Aug. 11: 23 additional ill persons with Salmonella Heidelberg with a closely related DNA ‘fingerprint’ pattern with illness since March included in total number of ill persons.

Sept. 11: Cargill Meat Solutions recalled approximately 185,000 pounds of ground turkey that might be contaminated with Salmonella Heidelberg, based on sample results from an intensive in-plant investigation.

CDC Outbreak Map:

092911-CDCcargillmap-350.jpg

CDC Epi Curve:

cargillepicurve-600.jpg

Another lawsuit has been filed against Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. in the wake of the company’s 36 million pound ground turkey recall, the largest Class I meat recall on record.

Missouri residents Susanne and Jerry Byerly are seeking some justice after Susanne was linked to the recent multi-drug resistant Salmonella turkey outbreak, which has been tied to at least 111 illnesses in 31 states. In a lawsuit filed this week by Marler Clark, a Seattle-based food safety law firm (and publisher of Food Safety News), the Byerly’s are seeking punitive damages.

According to the complaint, Susanne became ill with Salmonella Heidelberg infections after consuming contaminated turkey between February 20 and August 2, 2011. The ground turkey was part of a family meal: spaghetti with ground turkey. Not long after the meal, Susanne felt fatigued, a few days later her conditioned worsened and she was briefly hospitalized.

The lawsuit alleges that Cargill was aware that Salmonella Heidelberg had been detected at its Springdale, Arkansas plant “as far back as 2010, if not as early as 2007” and that the company “failed to alert consumers of the potential danger, issue a recall of products that it knew to be contaminated, or reasonably act to prevent consumers of its products from becoming infected and sickened by Salmonella Heidelberg.”

“We are asking the Court to award punitive damages in this case because Cargill failed to act on the knowledge that its products were contaminated,” said attorney Bill Marler, who has filed several lawsuits against food giant Cargill. “Obviously, lawsuits alone are not enough to get Cargill to produce a safe product.  It’s time FSIS declared Salmonella an adulterant in ground meat products and made companies issue recalls of product that tests positive for this contaminant.”

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Missouri.  

The family of a 10-month-old Troutdale, Oregon girl filed a lawsuit against Cargill Meat Solutions this week, alleging that the child is one of more than 107 people nationwide who became seriously ill with an antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg infection linked to ground turkey produced by the food giant.

The lawsuit was filed in Oregon Federal District Court in Portland by Seattle-based food safety law firm Marler Clark.

According to the complaint, the child ate Cargill ground turkey as part of a spaghetti and meatballs dinner her father prepared in early June. By June 10, she had developed severe diarrhea and a very high fever.  By June 15, following numerous visits to the doctor, the doctors determined that the antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg had entered the child’s bloodstream, and she was rushed to Doerenbecher hospital, where she was treated for seven days.

The family’s attorney, Bill Marler, says Cargill owes it to the family to take responsibility for its actions. “Since 1993, Cargill has been the source of contaminated meat implicated in at least 10 major outbreaks, 10 deaths, three stillbirths and 366 illnesses,” said Marler, who is publisher of Food Safety News. “Considering that these illnesses are likely undercounted by a factor of at least 20, those are significant numbers. What would we say if a car company or some other product manufacturer had the same numbers for an ongoing defect,?

Since1993, Cargill — the largest privately held corporation in the U.S. in terms of revenue — has been responsible for at least 10 major foodborne illness outbreaks, which resulted in 366 illnesses, 10 deaths, and 3 stillbirths. 

Public health officials have thus far have attributed 107 illnesses and at least one death  to the consumption of ground turkey produced by Cargill. On July 29, the company recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey, the largest Class I meat recall in U.S. history.

Cargill’s massive recall of ground turkey products last week was not the first time the industry giant had to call back potentially contaminated meat from the marketplace.

Here is a brief list of some of the past recalls and associated outbreaks of foodborne illness involving Cargill, a company that sells food and agriculture products around the globe and whose net profit was more than $26 billion in 2010:

1993 – Cargill supplied meat to Northwest Sizzler restaurants that was implicated in an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infection involving 39 confirmed and 54 probable cases. Public health investigators said the illnesses were the result of cross-contamination between raw Cargill Tri-tips and salad bar ingredients.

2000 – Cargill provided meat to Sizzler restaurants linked to an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses that killed one person and sickened that 62.  

2000 – Sliced turkey from a Cargill processing plant in Texas was found to be the source of a multi-state outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes. The company recalled 16 million pounds of turkey after reports of infection that eventually included seven deaths and 29 illnesses. Eight of the case patients were pregnant and three miscarriages/stillbirths were attributed to the contaminated turkey. 

2001 – Cargill ground beef patties tested positive for E. coli O157:H7 after a child from Georgia became ill. Three of the patties were purchased at Kroger and one from Sam’s Club, but all of the ill children and the tested meat had genetically indistinguishable strains of E. coli. Emmpak recalled 254,000 pounds of potentially contaminated ground beef.

2002 – Antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Newport was found in ground beef from Emmpak, a Cargill subsidiary. The CDC reported one fatality, 47 illnesses and 12 hospitalizations linked to consumption of the ground beef. Emmpak recalled a record 2.8 million pounds of potentially contaminated ground beef.

2007 – After Minnesota health officials traced 46 E. coli O157:H7 illnesses to ground beef patties, Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation recalled 845,000 pounds of frozen ground beef patties from retail locations across the U.S.

2007 – Cargill recalled 1,084,384 pounds of ground beef after federal tests detected E. coli O157:H7 in the product.  No illnesses were associated with this recall.

2008 – Beef cheek produced by Beef Packers, a Cargill subsidiary, tested positive for E. coli O157:H7, prompting a 1,560 pound recall.  No illnesses were associated with this recall.

2009 –  At least 40 cases of Salmonella Newport infection were linked to Beef Packers ground beef in the summer, sparking a  summertime recall of 830,000 pounds of ground beef.  Then, in December, more Salmonella illnesses tied to the producer’s meat led to a recall of 20,000 pounds of products.  Both recalls involved contamination with drug-resistant Salmonella bacteria.  

2010 – Cargill Meat Solutions recalled 8,500 pounds of ground beef after reports of illnesses caused by E. coli O26, a rare strain of the bacteria that produces the same Shiga-like toxin as the more common E. coli O157:H7.  The meat was distributed by BJ’s Wholesale Club.

2011 – Cargill Meat Solutions recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey linked to an outbreak of drug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg. Current outbreak numbers: one dead, 78 ill, 22 hospitalized.

Since 1993, Cargill has been the source of contaminated meat implicated in at least 10 major outbreaks, 10 deaths, three stillbirths and 347 illnesses.