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A few months ago I had a conversation with my grandma about the importance of knowing where the meat you eat comes from. Jamie Oliver emphasized it on his ABC show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. The nationwide recall of 36 pounds of ground turkey by Cargill on August 3 illustrates why consumers need to know the origins of the meat they eat. With something like ground turkey it is impossible to know exactly where the turkeys came from beyond the processing plant.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert concerning salmonella contamination in ground turkey on July 29. The alert was issued after an estimated 77 illnesses reported in 26 states. All Headline News reports that the salmonella strain linked to the ground turkey is “multi-drug resistant and nearly 40 percent of the victims have required hospitalization.”
The recall is described by All Headline News describes the recall as “one of the largest Class One recalls in U.S. history.” A Class One recall involves a serious health hazard.
The recalled turkey came from Cargill’s Springdale, Arkansas facility, produced from February 20, 2011 through August 2, 2011, according to the company’s press release. Cargill also, according to the press release, suspended production of ground turkey at the Springdale plant until it can figure out the source of the salmonella contamination.
Cargill has three other turkey production plants in the U.S. The other three plants are not affected by the recall.
The USDA lists the following retailers as selling the affected ground turkey:
- Aldi— Nationwide
- Giant Eagle— Locations in PA, MD, WV and OH
- HEB— Locations in TX
- Ingles— Locations in SC, NC, AL, GA, TN and VA
- Kroger— Nationwide
- Meijer— Locations in MI, IL, KY, IN and OH
- Stater Brothers— Locations in CA
- Walmart— Nationwide
- WinCo—Locations in WA, ID, NE, CA and OR
The recall of the ground turkey is “just the latest example of why we need strong regulatory and public health programs in place to protect consumers,” Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch said in a statement.
Hauter said that people were “getting sick with Salmonella for several months while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments struggled to identify a likely source of the contamination.” Hauter blamed budget cuts for making it more difficult for federal and state health agencies to “effectively protect public health.”
Another meat recall occurred last week. A total of 228,596 pounds of beef products from Tri State Beef of Cincinnati, Ohio were recalled on July 29. The USDA confirmed a positive result for E. coli.
What you can do to protect yourself from contaminated meat
Cargill is a large corporation. It is always better to purchase meat from sources as locally grown as you can get. Ask your grocer’s butcher where the meat sold in the store is from. Seek out small butcher shops which purchase meat from local sources.
Here are a few websites to help you find local sources of meat:
If you know of any other websites, let me know by leaving a comment.