Cargill Convenes Food Safety Panel

Cargill Inc. has convened a panel of food safety specialists to review the company's ground turkey food safety practices after it recalled 36 million lb. of ground turkey last month, according to an announcement.

Cargill initiated the recall and shut down ground turkey production at its plant in Springdale, Ark., after being informed by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) that CDC was investigating an outbreak of salmonella linked to ground turkey (Feedstuffs, Aug. 8). CDC said the turkey had been traced to one processing plant but did not identify the company or plant.

Cargill later resumed production after developing an enhanced food safety strategy for ground turkey production (Feedstuffs, Aug. 22).

However, "we are leaving no stone unturned," Steve Willardsen, president of the Cargill turkey business, says in reference to the food safety panel. He states the new food safety steps have been endorsed by the US Department of Agriculture, but the food safety panel "will help us assess and validate" those measures.

He says the panel will evaluate the entire production process, from growouts through ground turkey production.

The panel will consist of:

  • Dr. Michael Doyle, a food microbiologist at the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety;
  • Dr. Craig W. Hedberg, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota division of environmental health sciences, and
  • Dr. Barbara J. Masters, a veterinarian and senior policy adviser at the law firm Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz and a former administrator of the Food Safety & Inspection Service.

Willardsen says Cargill will "share" best practices emerging from its food safety efforts with its other turkey processing plants, and a spokesperson said significant food safety findings will be shared with other processors.