• Authorities issued a public health alert on over 200,000 pounds of raw turkey meat
  • Plainville Brands turkey meat products may be linked to a cluster of salmonella illnesses
  • Other products from other brands may also be "involved"

Authorities are issuing a public health alert on about 211,406 pounds of raw ground turkey that may be linked to a cluster of Salmonella Hadar illnesses. 

Consumers should check their freezers for raw ground turkey produced by Pennsylvania-based Plainville Brands last December, the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said in an alert issued Saturday.

According to FSIS, public health agencies are investigating an outbreak of 28 Salmonella Hadar illnesses reported from 12 states. The onset of illnesses ranged from Dec. 28, 2020, to March 4, 2021.

In one of the cases, the patient reported eating ground turkey. When investigators inspected an unopened package of Plainville Brands from the patient's home, it tested positive for Salmonella Hadar that's "genetically" closely related to the patient's samples.

The products included in the health alert are "1-lb. packages of Nature's Promise Free from 94% LEAN | 6% FAT Ground Turkey," "1-lb. packages of Wegman 94% LEAN | 6% FAT Ground Turkey," "3-lb. packages of Wegman 94% LEAN | 6% FAT Ground Turkey" and "1-lb. packages of Plainville Farms Ground White Turkey 93% | 7% Fat ." 

The specific Use-by dates of the affected products are available at the alert on the FSIS website. Photos of the packaging are available here.

The products were not subjected to a recall since they are likely no longer available on the market. What's more, the evidence so far "does not link all illnesses" to the products from the brand, the FSIS noted.

"Based on the continuing investigation, additional products from other establishments may be involved," the agency said.

That said, people are still being advised to check their freezers in case they bought an affected product earlier and still have them. Those who find that they do are being advised not to eat them. Instead, they should throw it away or take it back to the place where they bought it from.

Preventing Salmonellosis

People who consume products contaminated with Salmonella may contract salmonellosis within six hours to six days from the time of consumption, the FSIS said. Although most people can recover from it even without medical treatment, others who are more vulnerable may develop a severe illness from it. This includes infants, older adults and those whose immune systems are weakened.

The problem, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said, is that food contaminated with salmonella just looks and smells like normal foods. This is why it's important to know how to prevent infections.

The FSIS noted four key steps to preventing such food-borne illnesses when handling food: clean, separate, cook and chill.

The guidance means washing the hands and surfaces often, separating raw meat from other foods, cooking to the right temperature, and quickly refrigerating food. The latter is particularly important during the summer, the CDC said, as warmer temperatures are ideal for Salmonella growth.

Salmonella bacteria This photo, dated Aug. 7, 2009, under a very high magnification of 12000X, colorized scanning electron micrograph shows a large grouping of gram-negative salmonella bacteria. Photo: Reuters/Janice Haney Carr/CDC/Handout