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Butterball Turkey: The Source of Salmonella Outbreak in Wisconsin

Posted in Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls,Salmonella on March 13, 2019

It’s time to go through your freezer because there may be a problem with the turkey products in there. The CDC, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture are investigating a multistate Salmonella outbreak.  Wisconsin public health investigators found Salmonella bacteria in Butterball ground turkey.  The specific strain of Salmonella found in the Butterball ground turkey, Salmonella Schwarzengrund, is genetically closely related to the Salmonella Schwarzengrund infections in the food poisoning patients.  As a result, Butterball has recalled 78,164 pounds of raw ground turkey products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Schwarzengrund.

Here’s what you need to know about the Butterball Turkey Salmonella Outbreak in Wisconsin:

Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Butterball, LLC, is recalling 782,164 pounds of raw ground turkey products that may have been contaminated with Salmonella Schwarzengrund. This is a Class I recall, which means that the USDA has determined that there is “reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences from the use of the product.”

Here are the products subject to the recall:

  • 48-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “BUTTERBALL everyday Fresh Ground Turkey WITH NATURAL FLAVORING (85% LEAN/15% FAT)” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188, and UPC codes 22655-71555 or 22655-71557 represented on the label.
  • 48-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “BUTTERBALL everyday Fresh Ground Turkey WITH NATURAL FLAVORING (93% LEAN/7% FAT)” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188 and UPC code 22655-71556 represented on the label.
  • 16-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “BUTTERBALL everyday Fresh Ground Turkey WITH NATURAL FLAVORING (85% LEAN/15% FAT)” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188 and UPC code 22655-71546 represented on the label.
  • 16-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “BUTTERBALL everyday Fresh Ground Turkey WITH NATURAL FLAVORING (93% LEAN/7% FAT)” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188 and UPC codes 22655-71547 or 22655-71561 represented on the label
  • 48-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “Kroger GROUND TURKEY FRESH 85% LEAN – 15% FAT” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188, and UPC code 111141097993 represented on the label.
  • 48-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “FOOD LION 15% fat ground turkey with natural flavorings” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188 and UPC code 3582609294 represented on the label.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. P-7345” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to institutional and retail locations nationwide. The prepacked raw ground turkey was produced on July 7, 2018.

If you have any of these products in your refrigerator or freezer, FSIS urges you not to consume them. The products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

Detective Work

How do they know there is a problem and where the problem is? By doing some detective work.

The problem was discovered by FSIS, working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. These public health partners were investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Schwarzengrund illnesses involving 5 patients from 2 states. These people got food poisoning and went to a doctor, who was able to diagnose them with Salmonella poisoning and then report the incident. Wisconsin collected samples of Butterball brand ground turkey from the residence where 4 of the patients live, and the Salmonella in the patients and in the turkey were closely related. Because they had the label, it was relatively simple to track down the source and therefore know other possibly contaminated packages.

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella is a genus of bacteria which is found in the intestines of animals and humans. Infected food and animals won’t look sick, but through cross contamination, salmonella can also be found in produce. Bacteria are shared through close contact, or even just being in the same vicinity to where the animals live.

Hence, one contaminated turkey can lead to a whole bunch of contaminated meat in a now tainted facility shipping ground turkey all over the country. Meat must be recalled, and the facility thoroughly disinfected, if it hasn’t been already.

There are many different branches to the Salmonella family tree, with some variation on the disease, but the type most common in the US is Salmonella serotype Enteritidis which cause the gastrointestinal symptoms which we associate with food poisoning. Salmonellosis is more common in the summer than the winter, possibly due to food and contaminated water sitting out in tepid temperatures which are ideal for bacteria.

People contract salmonellosis typically by eating contaminated food which has not been properly prepared. You can also get salmonellosis from handling birds, reptiles, amphibians, turtles, or things they or their feces have touched.

You might have Salmonella poisoning if…

As mentioned, Salmonella poisoning exhibits classic food poisoning symptoms. Most people who contract Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Illness lingers typically 4 to 7 days. The good news is that most people recover completely from salmonellosis, though it may take months for their bowels to function normally again.

However, sometimes the symptoms are so severe that the sick person must be hospitalized to avoid severe dehydration or infection.

In very bad situations, bacterial infection can spread from the intestines to the blood, and from there to other parts of the body. If this happens, Salmonella can cause death unless it is treated with antibiotics.

In very rare cases, salmonellosis survivors can develop pain in their joints, which is called reactive arthritis. Reactive arthritis is difficult to treat and may last for months or years.

Go to a doctor immediately if you or your child, or an elderly or immune compromised loved one experience abdominal pain, fever, and/or diarrhea.

If someone in your family contracts salmonellosis they should not prepare food or pour water for others until their diarrhea has resolved.

Protecting Your Family

There is no vaccine for salmonellosis, and some strains are antibiotic resistant. This means that the best protection is prevention. Salmonellosis is incredibly preventable.

Older adults, children under the age of 5 and others with weakened immune systems are the most vulnerable to Salmonella poisoning. The weaker the individual, the higher the risk of severe infection. Some medications, such as those which reduce stomach acid, can increase the risk of Salmonella poisoning. Breastfeeding, if it’s possible, reduces the chances of an infant contracting salmonellosis.

For the cost of a good meat thermometer, dish soap and a sponge, you can protect your family from ever going through the misery and risk of salmonellosis.

The USDA provides a handy chart for safe internal food temperatures:

Product Minimum Internal Temperature & Rest Time
Beef, Pork, Veal & Lamb
Steaks, chops, roasts
145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Ground meats 160 °F (71.1 °C)
Ham, fresh or smoked (uncooked) 145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Fully Cooked Ham
(to reheat)
Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140 °F (60 °C) and all others to 165 °F (73.9 °C).

 

Product Minimum Internal Temperature
All Poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, wings, ground poultry, giblets, and stuffing) 165 °F (73.9 °C)
Eggs 160 °F (71.1 °C)
Fish & Shellfish 145 °F (62.8 °C)
Leftovers 165 °F (73.9 °C)
Casseroles 165 °F (73.9 °C)

 

Bring a cooler when you shop, and make sure to refrigerate raw meat immediately when returning from the grocery store.

Wash kitchen surfaces with soap before and after handling raw meat on them. Even if you use a cutting board still wash the counter because there could have been splatter.

Make sure to thoroughly wash knives and cutting boards and other utensils after touching uncooked meats.

Wash your hands often while preparing food, between food items, especially if you are handing raw meat. Wash your hands before touching anything else, otherwise you’ll have to wash that thing, too.

Store your raw meats separate from other foods and in a container that will not drip.

Salmonella poisoning is very preventable, and through the hard work of the public health organizations we have a valuable heads up whenever possible. Check your freezer and toss or return the products listed in the recall. It’s worth the hassle to protect yourself and your loved ones from the possibly long reaching consequences of food poisoning.

The Lange Law Firm – www.MakeFoodSafe.com

Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by contaminated food or water.  When corporations cause Salmonella food poisoning outbreaks or Legionnaires disease outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable.  The Lange Law Firm is the only law firm in the nation solely focused on representing families in food poisoning lawsuits and Legionnaires disease lawsuits.

If you were infected with Salmonella after eating Butterball ground turkey, and are interested in making a legal claim for compensation, we can help.  Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at 833.330.366, or send us an e-mail here.

By: The News Desk