Check your freezer: USDA issues health alert for ground turkey due to salmonella risk

Ronnie Koenig
·3 min read

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert for raw ground turkey products that may be linked to salmonella illness. The 211,406 pounds of turkey products were not recalled since it is believed they are no longer available for purchase, but FSIS is urging consumers to check their freezers.

The raw ground turkey, produced by Plainville Brands, LLC, a Pennsylvania company, may have caused salmonella illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control salmonellosis, the illness caused by salmonella, is one of the most common food illnesses and has symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever which may begin within 6 hours to 6 days after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days and most people recover without treatment though in some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. The public health alert was issued as a response to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) changing the incubation period for salmonella.

According to the alert issued, the raw ground turkey products were produced on December 18, 2020 through December 29, 2020. The following products are subject to the public health alert:

  • 1 pound 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 pound packages of Wegmans 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 pound packages of Wegmans 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 pound 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."

The products bear establishment number EST. P-244 inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations nationwide.

"Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them," said FSIS. "These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase. Retail locations that may receive returned product from consumers should destroy this product immediately." Consumers should also note that while freezing inactivates bacteria, once thawed, bacteria can become active again.

FSIS said they are investigating a multistate outbreak of salmonella in 12 states with onset dates ranging from December 28, 2020 through March 4, 2021. One patient consumed the ground turkey produced by Plainville Brands, LLC and an unopened package of Plainville Brands’ ground turkey collected from this patient’s home tested positive for salmonella.

"FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume raw ground turkey that has been cooked to a temperature of 165°F," read the alert. "The only way to confirm the poultry item is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature."

FSIS continues to work with CDC and state and local public health partners on this investigation and will provide updated information as it becomes available. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.