Cargill Value Added Meats Retail announced an immediate Class I voluntary recall of approximately 85-percent-lean fresh ground turkey products produced at the company’s Springdale, Ark., facility on Aug. 23, 24, 30 and 31, 2011, due to possible contamination from Salmonella Heidelberg.

On Aug. 3, Cargill recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey, in response to an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant salmonella that had sickened more than 100 people and killed one.  The suspect meat had emerged from a single slaughterhouse in Arkansas. The company shut down its Arkansas plant to disinfect it and upgrade safety procedures there. According to the trade journal, Cargill did the following: [Safety enhancements] include two additional antibacterial washes, intensifying an existing antibacterial system, disassembling and steam cleaning equipment before resuming ground turkey production, and requiring suppliers of turkey meat to add a new antibacterial wash. The company has also implemented the most aggressive Salmonella monitoring and testing programme in the poultry industry.

Officials from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) approved the upgrades, By mid-August, the plant was cranking out vast amounts of ground turkey again.  However, the antibiotic-resistant salmonella strain that caused the outbreak managed to resist Cargill’s safety upgrades. On September 11, FSIS announced that Cargill is recalling 185,000 more pounds of ground turkey from its Arkansas plant, samples of which had tested positive for the exact same strain of antibiotic-resistant salmonella that caused the August calamity.