Federal officials urged people to check any ground turkey to make certain it is not among the product being recalled for salmonella. Over 36 million pounds of fresh and frozen ground turkey produced by Cargill is being recalled. The turkey was processed in the plant between Feb 20 and August 2nd and is thought contaminated with the bacteria that is linked to one death and at least 78 severely ill individuals.
The turkey that was affected has codes on the packages that include “Est. P-963.”
The following Grocery Store brands repackaged this turkey, HEG, Safeway, Kroger, Randall’s, Tom Thumb, and Giant Eagle.
In addition brand names using the turkey were Fit & Active Lean Ground Turkey, Honeysuckle White, Natural Lean Ground Turkey, Shady Brook Farms Ground Turkey Burgers, and Spartan Ground Turkey.
The salmonella from the patients is resistant to the common antibiotics and appears to be highly virulent. Nearly 40 percent of the people who became ill were hospitalized. Most of the cases were reported in the Midwest (Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania – as well as cases in Texas and California).
People become ill 3 days after eating the contaminated product. Symptoms include fevers, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. People who are being treated with steroids, or anti-rejection medicine for transplants, those who have HIV/AIDS, or who have a weakened immune system (the very young and very old) are at particular high risk.
Ground turkey is an excellent alternative to ground beef. However, it is far better if you make the ground turkey at home. Get a meat grinder (or an attachment for a Kitchen Aid) and grind the turkey yourself. Carefully handling the turkey (see the Sous Vide Video about turkey) cut the turkey into one inch pieces. Have a pot of boiling water and drop the pieces into the water for one minute. Fish them out then grind the turkey.
If you are not planning on using the turkey that day- place in a vacuum sealed bag and freeze until you are ready to use.
Homemade ground turkey will taste better, is more fresh, and far safer – as well as less expensive than what you can get from the store.