Cargill, the 150-year old food and agricultural company, is about to hit the reset button on operations. Observers are wondering if the company will completely reboot.
On August 3, Cargill sent out a recall for over 35 million pounds of ground turkey. The recall was one of the biggest American meat recalls in history. The problem triggering the recall started in February when a salmonella outbreak was linked to tainted turkeys. By August, the food poisoning had sickened over 100 people in over 30 states according to federal health officials.
When the recall was issued, Cargill closed down grinding operations at its turkey operation in Springdale, Arkansas.
Limited production was allowed to resume following the addition of improved safety measures, approved by the US Department of Agriculture. The new procedures including increasing, by 25 percent, the plants anti-bacterial wash for just-slaughtered birds and added to new anti-bacterial baths during the evisceration process.
With the Arkansas plant producing a limited amount of 90 percent lean ground turkey, Cargill has not set a timetable to resume making its 80 percent lean product.
Cargill was sued by an Oregon couple whose one-year-old daughter was stricken by Salmonella Heidelberg after eating spaghetti and meatballs made with ground turkey. The child spends a week in a local hospital after developing diarrhea and a temperature of almost 103.
The initial lawsuit occurred within days of the recall announcement and involved a 38-year old Arizona man who claimed he was hospitalized after being infected by Salmonella Heidelberg.
The outbreak is traced back to a particularly virulent type of Salmonella Heidelberg that is resistant to routine antibiotics; an increased risk of hospitalization for treatment failure is the result.
Consumers who think they contracted food poisoning are encouraged to contact an experienced attorney and see if they are entitled to compensation by filing a salmonella food poisoning complaint.