Butterball Ground Turkey Recall | Salmonella

Trisha Calvo

Butterball Recalls Ground Turkey for Possible Salmonella Contamination

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Butterball has recalled more than 78,000 pounds of ground turkey because of possible contamination with Salmonella Schwarzengrund, the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced. Six people in three states have become ill; one was hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The recalled packages were produced in July 2018 and should no longer be in stores. However, Butterball and FSIS are concerned that some consumers may still have this meat in their freezer. The ground turkey was sold in either 48-ounce or 16-ounce plastic-wrapped trays, all with a “sell or freeze by” date of July 26, 2018. 

This is the third recall involving ground turkey in five months. In November and December 2018, Jennie-O recalled packages of ground turkey for possible contamination with Salmonella Reading. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Reading linked to several types of raw turkey products. Neither investigation has been closed.

Most of the product in the current recall was sold under the Butterball brand, but store-branded ground turkey from Kroger and Food Lion were also involved. (See below for a list of product names and UPC codes.)

FSIS did not provide a list of stores or states where the turkey was sold, but Christa Leupen, manager of public relations at Butterball, said the turkey was shipped to the following states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Four of the people who got sick lived in the same household in Wisconsin. The CDC says that the other two illnesses were in North Carolina and Minnesota.

FSIS advises consumers who have this meat in their freezer to throw it away or return it to the store where they bought it for a refund.

“It’s possible, though, that people who bought ground turkey back in July took it out of its original packaging and rewrapped it before freezing it and won’t remember the brand or when they bought it,” says Sana Mujahid, Ph.D., manager of food safety testing at Consumer Reports. “If that’s the case, it would be best to not eat the turkey, or, if you do, to be especially careful to cook it to 165° F and to wash your hands, utensils, and prep areas thoroughly after handling the turkey.”

Salmonella Schwarzengrund is a rare type of salmonella in the U.S. Leupen said that this strain “wasn’t on our radar prior to now.” However, it causes the same symptoms as other types of salmonella: diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. If you have a high fever, bloody diarrhea, or severe vomiting, or if diarrhea lasts longer than three days, you should contact your doctor.

The Details

Products recalled: 16- and 48-ounce plastic-wrapped trays of Butterball, Kroger, and Food Lion ground turkey with a sell-by or freeze-by date of July 26, 2018, a lot code of 8188, and “EST. P-7345” inside the USDA mark of inspection. Here are the products:

• 48-ounce Butterball Everyday Fresh Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring (85 percent lean/15 percent fat) with UPC code 22655-71555 or 22655-71557.

• 48-ounce Butterball Everyday Fresh Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring (93 percent lean/7 percent fat) with UPC code 22655-71556.

• 16-ounce Butterball Everyday Fresh Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring (85 percent lean/15 percent fat) with UPC code 22655-71546.

• 16-ounce Butterball Everyday Fresh Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring (93 percent lean/7 percent fat) with UPC code 22655-71547 or 22655-71561.

• 48-ounce Kroger Ground Turkey Fresh (85 percent lean/15 percent fat) with UPC code 111141097993.

• 48-ounce Food Lion 15 percent fat ground turkey with natural flavorings with UPC code 3582609294.

See images with label examples below.

The problem: The ground turkey may be contaminated with Salmonella Schwarzengrund.

The fix: Consumers who have this turkey in their freezers should not eat it. They should throw it away or return it to the store where they purchased it for a refund.

How to contact the manufacturer: Call Butterball at 800-288-8372. 

Editor's Note: This story was updated on March 15, 2019 with new information on the number of illnesses and the states where the illnesses occurred. The CDC announced that the number of ill people rose from 5 to 6 and that one person was hospitalized and that illnesses occurred in North Carolina and Minnesota in addition to Wisconsin. 



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