Recall reminds of need to cook ground meat thoroughly

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The USDA performs an important job in ensuring that the nation's food supply is safe, but that doesn't relieve individual consumers from protecting their own health.

Cargill recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey after it was linked to a nationwide outbreak of antibiotic-resistant salmonella food poisoning.

The meat was suspected of causing at least 79 illnesses across the nation since March 9, including at least one death. The strain of salmonella -- Heidelberg -- is multi-drug resistant and nearly 40 percent of the victims required hospitalization.

Ground turkey production has been suspended at the Springdale, Arkansas, plant where it originated until the source of the problem can be found.

It's a good reminder that ground meats, especially, should be thoroughly cooked. The Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends cooking ground turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, as measured by a food thermometer, and not simply estimated by cooking time.

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