A turkey burger isn't sounding so good right now. Even if no immediate evidence suggests salmonella-laced ground gobbler has, as of this weekend, infiltrated California's stores, the Minnesota-based company Cargill Inc. has issued its second recall in six weeks -- this time for 185,000 pounds of loose ground meat, patties, and the unfortunately named "chubs" produced on August 23, 24, 30, and 31 at the same Arkansas plant where the previous contamination occurred. All ground turkey made at the Springdale plant will show, either in a USDA seal or on the plastic package, a "P-963" or "963." Consumers who bought the product should call (888) 812-1646.
After the August 3 outbreak, nearly 36 million pounds of meat sold under the Kroger, Fresh HEB, and Honeysuckle White brands were recalled, and Cargill went bonkers trying to pin down the source. The plant shut down production for about a week, dismantled and steam-cleaned equipment, and installed -- in the reckoning of spokesperson Mike Martin -- "the most advanced sampling and monitoring system in the poultry industry."
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The fact that salmonella appeared a little over a month later is a testament both to the bacteria's sneaky omnipresence in feed, soil, and water and also the general grossness of the so-called poultry industry. When you're committed to whacking and pulverizing thousands of pounds of miserably treated birds a day to meet the public's demand for affordable protein, you're setting yourself -- and customers -- up for problems.