Raw ground turkey behind Salmonella outbreak—CDC

A twelve-state outbreak of Salmonella infections has been linked to raw ground turkey meat, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigation report released today (April 12, 2021).

Scope of the outbreak

At least twenty-eight (28) cases of Salmonella Hadar with symptom onset dates between December 28, 2020, to March 4, 2021 were reported in the following states:

  • Arizona (1)
  • Connecticut (1)
  • Indiana (1)
  • Maine (1)
  • Massachusetts (7)
  • Missouri (1)
  • New Hampshire (1)
  • New Jersey (2)
  • New York (4)
  • North Carolina (3)
  • Pennsylvania (4)
  • Virginia (2)

Although two of the outbreak victims were hospitalized, there have been no deaths.

Epidemiological, laboratory and traceback data have linked the cases to raw, ground turkey products that were produced on December 18, 2020 through December 29, 2020.

Public Health Alert

The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a Public Health Alert for approximately 211,406 pounds of raw ground turkey products, produced by Plainville Brands, LLC (Pennsylvania) after the outbreak strain was recovered from an intact package of Plainville Brands’ ground turkey.

The alert encompasses the following items, all of which bear the establishment number EST. P-244 inside the USDA mark of inspection:

  • 1-lb. packages of Nature’s Promise Free from 94% LEAN | 6% FAT Ground Turkey with Use by/freeze/sell by date of 1/1/21, 1/3/21,1/4/21, 1/8/21 and 1/10/21 on the front of the package.
  • 1-lb. packages of Wegman 94% LEAN | 6% FAT Ground Turkey with Use by/freeze/sell by date of 1/3/21, 1/4/21, 1/8/21 and 1/10/21 on the front of the package.
  • 3-lb. packages of Wegman 94% LEAN | 6% FAT Ground Turkey with Use by/freeze/sell by date of 1/3/21, 1/4/21, 1/8/21 and 1/10/21 on the front of the package.
  • 1-lb. packages of Plainville Farms Ground White Turkey 93% | 7% Fat with Use by/freeze/sell by date of 1/10/21 on the front of the package.

All of the suspect packages have passed their Use by/freeze/sell by dates, and are believed to no longer be available for purchase. However, consumers may still have some of the implicated packages in their home freezers.

Not all of the outbreak cases have shown a direct link to raw ground turkey products from Plainville Brands. FSIS warns consumers that other raw ground turkey products may also be a source of some illnesses. It is possible that more recalls and/or public health alerts may follow.

What consumers need to know

  • Most people infected with Salmonella experience diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps, beginning six hours to six days after being exposed. Most infected individuals recover without treatment in a week or less; however some people may experience more severe illnesses and may require medical treatment or hospitalization.
  • Consumers should check their freezers and discard any of the products listed in the FSIS Public Health Alert, and disinfect any surfaces with which these products may have come into contact.
  • Food handlers, whether in the home or in a commercial establishment, should take extreme care when preparing and cooking any raw ground poultry meat, including raw ground turkey, as these products carry a high risk of being contaminated with Salmonella.

Plainville’s response

Plainville issued the following statement in response to the FSIS Public Health Alert:

As a proud provider of natural and certified organic foods, the

health and safety of our customers is essential to who we are as a

company. We are providing any assistance requested by health and

safety officials. We are proud of our health and safety record and

protocols, and are honored that generations of families have trusted

Plainville and welcomed us into their homes.”

Tom Donovan, Vice President of Plainville Brands, LLC

Meow Mix® dry cat food recalled due to Salmonella

The J.M. Smucker Co. (Smucker) has recalled two lots of Meow Mix® dry cat food due to potential Salmonella contamination.

The recall is being carried out under cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The affected products are:

  • Meow Mix® Original Choice Dry Cat Food, 30-lb bag:- Lot code 1081804; Best if used by 9/14/2022; UPC 2927452099
  • Meow Mix® Original Choice Dry Cat Food, 30-lb bag:- Lot code 1082804; Best if used by 9/15/2022; UPC 2927452099

The two lots of recalled products were sold at select Walmart stores in Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The company has received no reports of pet illness or adverse reaction.

According to the FDA, cats can be infected with Salmonella and shed the bacteria in their stools even if they are not showing symptoms. Salmonella can be spread within the household through litter boxes shared with other cats or by the cat roaming across various surfaces in the house, including food-preparation surfaces.

Infected cats may show symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, loss of appetite and decreased activity level.

What consumers should do

  • If your cat is experiencing any symptoms of Salmonella infection, consult your veterinarian.
  • If you or any member of your household is experiencing symptoms of Salmonella, consult your primary care physician.
  • If you have purchased Meow Mix® Original Choice Dry Cat Food, check the packaging to determine whether the lot code has been recalled.
  • If you believe Meow Mix® or any other pet food has made your pet sick, you can report a complaint electronically through the FDA’s Safety Reporting Portal or you can call your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. Be sure to provide the product name, lot code and place of purchase when you make your report so that the FDA can follow up effectively on your complaint.

Animal Rights Group Claims Credit for Bravo Packing Pet Food Recall

Animal Outlook, an animal rights advocacy organization, claims to have been the catalyst for the recall of Ground Beef and Performance Dog raw pet foods announced on March 3, 2021 by Bravo Packing, Inc., Carney’s Point, New Jersey.

Animal Outlook is a national non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. The name of the organization was changed from “Compassion over Killing” to “Animal Outlook” in 2020.

The pet food recall, which encompassed all Ground Beef and Performance Dog frozen raw pet foods (sold in 2-pound and 5-pound plastic sleeves), was initiated after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in samples of Performance Dog and in a sample of Ground Beef.

Bravo Packing, Inc. is not affiliated with Bravo Pet Foods, a manufacturer of frozen and freeze-dried raw pet foods and pet treats based in Manchester, Connecticut.

According to a news release dated March 4, 2021, Animal Outlook notified the FDA in December 2020 that the organization had recovered Salmonella from a sample of Performance Dog Diet raw dog food. The sample had been obtained two months earlier from a California distributor of Bravo Packing’s products.

The FDA declined to comment on the Animal Outlook news release. However, a spokesperson for the agency pointed out that it is the FDA’s practice to reinspect facilities that have been the subject of previous enforcement actions, such as Warning Letters.

Bravo Packing has a history of contaminated pet food issues and regulatory infractions.

In September 2018, Bravo Packing recalled all Performance Dog products after the FDA found Salmonella in a sample of the product during the course of an inspection.

In July/August 2019, the FDA carried out another inspection of the manufacturing facility, during which the agency found Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in samples of two different products.

In September 2019, after the company did not respond to the agency’s repeated requests for documentation relating to distribution and recall of the contaminated products, the FDA issued a consumer advisory, cautioning pet owners not to feed Performance Dog raw food products to their pets.

In March 2020, in a follow-up to the July/August 2019 inspection, the FDA issued a formal Warning Letter to the president of Bravo Packing, Inc., citing multiple serious violations of Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals regulations.

The current investigation is still active, and information on what new or repeat violations the FDA may have found is not yet available.

What Consumers Need to Know

  • Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Pets exposed to contaminated food can be infected without showing symptoms.
  • People who think their pets have become ill after consuming contaminated pet food should first contact their veterinarians.
  • Veterinarians who wish to have pets tested for Salmonella may do so through the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN) if the pet is from a household with a person infected with Salmonella.
  • The FDA also encourages consumers to report complaints about pet food products electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal. This information helps FDA further protect human and animal health.