Cargill announced a voluntary recall Thursday of 36 million pounds of ground turkey products in connection with a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 77 people nationwide, seven of them in Illinois.
The meat producer has also suspended production of ground turkey products at an Arkansas processing plant until it can determine the source of the contamination, Cargill said in a statement.
Of the seven reported illnesses in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Health said at least one person lives in DuPage County. The other cases were reported in Cass, Cook, Madison, Peoria, Will and Williamson counties.
At least one person in Illinois was hospitalized, the health department said. The ages of those infected range from 3 to 60.
The first illness in Illinois tied to this outbreak was reported March 21, while the most recent case was June 29, the health department said.
Salmonella is a food-borne illness characterized by diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that usually lasts from four to seven days, the health department said. Most people recover on their own, but in some cases the diarrhea is severe enough that the patient requires hospitalization.
Cooking meat such as ground turkey to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees should kill salmonella bacteria, the health department said.
Keep raw poultry and its juices away from ready-to-eat foods such as fruit or already-cooked food. Wash hands and food preparation surfaces thoroughly after they come into contact with raw poultry.
Customers who purchased turkey products on the recall list should bring them back to the store where they bought them for a full refund, Cargill said. Questions can be directed to Cargill’s customer service department at 1-888-812-1646. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also has a food safety hot line: 1-888-MPHotline.