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Salmonella Heidelberg infections inch upward

by Bryan Salvage
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ATLANTA – To date, a total of 111 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 31 states while one person has died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Collaborative state, local and federal public health and regulatory agencies research efforts indicate ground turkey is the likely source of this outbreak. On Aug. 3, 2011, Cargill Meat Solutions recalled 36 million lbs. of ground turkey product produced at its Springdale, Ark. plant due to possible Salmonella contamination.

When contacted for an update on CMS’s Springdale plant investigation, Mike Martin, Cargill director of communications, told MEATPOULTRY.com, “We know the Salmonella came in with the turkey, but the origin remains under investigation. Last Wednesday, we restarted the ground turkey lines producing product that was not recalled. Last Thursday we restarted the 93-percent lean ground turkey line, which was one of the items recalled. It was restarted on a limited basis to ensure the measures we implemented are working. The 85-percent lean ground turkey will be restarted at a date to be announced.”

The outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg is resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics; this antibiotic resistance may be associated with an increased risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals.
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