The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a public health alert “due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella Heidelberg that may be associated with the use and consumption of ground turkey.” According to FSIS, an epidemiological investigation led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health departments has linked an estimated 77 illnesses in 26 states to a Springdale, Arkansas, plant operated by Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., which voluntarily recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey produced between February 20 and August 2.

“The outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg is resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics; this antibiotic resistance may increase the risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals,” stated an August 4, 2011, CDC investigation update. “Consumers should check their homes for recalled ground turkey products and not eat them; restaurant and food service operators should not serve it.”