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Entries in Cargill (3)

Tuesday
Sep132011

Cargill's Salmonella Setback Shows Strength of Screening

USDA(SPRINGDALE, Ark.) -- Despite beefed-up safety measures in the wake of an August salmonella outbreak, Cargill Inc. has recalled more ground turkey tainted with the same bacterial strain. But this time, nobody got sick.

This is a significant credit to strict screening by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Cargill announced the voluntary recall Sunday after a sample from its Springdale, Ark., processing plant tested positive for the salmonella Heidelberg strain, an antibiotic-resistant strain that killed one person and sickened 107 more earlier this summer.

The August outbreak prompted a recall of 36 million pounds of ground turkey and a crackdown on food safety measures by the USDA. The new contamination, which has not caused any known sickness, prompted a much smaller recall of about 185,000 pounds of poultry, but has irked Cargill officials nonetheless.

After the August recall, Cargill dismantled and steam-cleaned affected equipment, boosted anti-bacterial washing and installed the most advanced sampling and monitoring system in the poultry industry. But the sneaky salmonella -- particularly sinister because of its resistance to typical drugs -- shows just how tough the fight against bacteria can be.

In May 2011, the food safety watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the USDA to start routinely testing ground meat and poultry for Heidelberg and three other hard-to-treat salmonella strains.

The USDA collected the recent Cargill samples and tested them for Heidelberg salmonella because of the previous recall. But the CSPI petition urges the agency to classify the salmonella strains as adulterants, which is a designation that would make contaminated products illegal and routine testing mandatory.

The USDA declared six strains of another food-borne bacteria, E. coli, adulterants, a move met with resistance from the meat industry because of the added cost of expanded screening programs.

"This is a big win for consumers," Ami Gadhia, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, said in a statement. "In the wake of many recent food recalls caused by E. coli contamination, it is critical that we take the necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of all consumers."

Salmonella was responsible for eight of 11 food-borne outbreaks this year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. E.coli caused the other three.

Copyright 2011 ABC  News Radio

Wednesday
Aug032011

36 Million Pounds of Turkey Linked to Salmonella Outbreak Recalled

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SPRINGDALE, Ark.) -- Meat processor Cargill announced Wednesday that it was recalling nearly 36 million pounds of ground turkey meat due to a salmonella outbreak.

The Cargill turkey has been linked to one death in California. Scores of cases have been reported in 26 states so far.

Cargill also announced that it was halting production of the ground turkey at its Springdale, Ark., plant.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr052011

New USDA Rule Could Prevent Thousands of Food Poisonings

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration said Tuesday it plans to order all U.S. beef, pork and poultry producers to keep their products off store shelves until government tests for pathogens prove the food is safe.

Until now, producers have been free to ship raw cuts of potentially contaminated meat and chicken to market before tests yield their results. The result has been inadvertent and preventable outbreaks of disease and costly recalls.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, "Most establishments already do their own testing and holding of products," and many of the industry's largest producers, including Tyson Foods and Cargill, support the rule.

"We've had test and hold procedures in place at our plants for about ten years," said Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson. "While we don't typically favor more government regulation, we believe it makes sense in this case to mandate 'test and hold' for the whole industry."

But some smaller companies have opposed the change, saying they have a limited ability to refrigerate thousands of pounds of perishable goods while they await test results.

Vilsack said the new requirement to "test and hold" would prevent up to 25,000 cases of food sickness per year. He estimated 44 major recalls could have been prevented if the policy had been in place between 2007 and 2009.

The USDA says it inspects "billions of pounds" of meat, poultry and processed eggs every year, and conducts periodic tests for dangerous bacteria at meat plants and processing sites around the country. But the agency has waited years to make the "test and hold" policy mandatory -- despite repeated requests from the American Meat Institute and other groups to impose a uniform rule.

The new USDA policy won't take effect for at least a few months while terms of the regulation are finalized.

An estimated 48 million Americans, or one in six, get sick from food poisoning every year, according to the CDC. Of those, at least 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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