Meat processing giant Cargill has issued a recall for 36 million pounds of ground turkey after a nationwide salmonella outbreak. The meat has been linked to one death in California and at least 76 illnesses.
The Agriculture Department says Cargill is recalling both fresh and frozen ground turkey produced at the company's Springdale, Ark., plant.
All ground turkey production has been suspended at the plant until Cargill can determine the source of the outbreak.
"Given our concern for what has happened, and our desire to do what is right for our consumers and customers, we are voluntarily removing our ground turkey products from the marketplace," said Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill's turkey processing business.
The recalled meat covers a number of different brands, but all the packages contain a label reading "Est. P-963."
The outbreak, which spans from coast to coast, has caused concern among shoppers. Officials say salmonella cases date back to March with a spike in early June.
"That's kind of scary," one consumer said. "I buy it all the time."
Health experts say there are several simple tips to follow to keep from getting sick.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, even contaminated ground turkey is safe to eat if cooked to 165 degrees and handled properly before cooking.
Washing hands with soap for 20 seconds after touching raw meat is also very important.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food poisoning sickens roughly 50 million Americans each year, with salmonella causing most of the cases.
"The most vulnerable people are the very old, the very young, young and immune compromised people, and pregnant females," The Huntington Memorial Medical Center's Dr. Robert Goldweber said.
Doctors say following a few food safety rules would be drastically reduced that number.