Ground turkey sold under the brand names Nature’s Promise, Wegmans, and Plainville Farms is under a health alert for potential bacterial contamination in connection with a Salmonella Hadar outbreak. The products have “use or sell by” dates ranging from 1/1/21 to 1/10/21, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) is concerned consumers may have the products in their freezers.

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Ground Turkey Salmonella Hadar Outbreak

USDA FSIS issued a health alert for the products rather than requesting a recall from Plainville Brands, LLC of New Oxford, PA because the agency believes the affected products are no longer being sold. Consumers who have any of these products on hand should not eat them as Salmonella can cause serious illness and death.

As of April 10, 2021, 28 cases of Salmonella Hadar infections have been reported from 12 states, an increase from the 24 cases in 11 states reported three weeks ago when ground turkey was named the suspected source of a Salmonella Hadar outbreak. The number of cases reported from each state is: AZ (1), CT (1) IN (1), MA (7), ME (1), MO (1), NC (3), NH (1), NJ (2), NY (4), PA (4), and VA (2).

The patients, who range in age from 1 to 92 years old reported onset-of-illness dates ranging from December 28, 2020 through March 4, 2021. Tests show the outbreak strain is resistant to antibiotics. Two people have been hospitalized.

Not all illnesses can be linked to ground turkey produced by Plainville Brands, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During interviews with health officials, case patients reported buying a variety of ground turkey products from multiple stores. And, when USDA-FSIS conducted traceback investigations of the origin of products purchased, several processing facilities were indicated. What’s more, the agency revealed, that state health officials and other regulatory bodies found the outbreak strain in “several turkey products” collected for routine testing. It’s not clear why these results were not made public earlier.

Salmonella in Plainville Farms, Wegmans, Nature's Promise Ground Turkey

Ground Turkey Public Health Alert

On April 10, USDA FSIS issued a public health alert for ground turkey produced by Plainville Farms and sold under three brand names after tests on an intact, unopened package of Plainville Farms ground turkey collected from a case-patient’s home tested positive for the Salmonella Hadar outbreak strain. It is possible that additional products from other companies may be involved as not all of the illnesses can be linked to Plainville Farms, USDA FSIS said in the alert.

The health alert includes about 211,406 pounds of raw ground turkey products sold under the brand names Plainville Farms, Wegmans, and Nature’s Promise, the store brand for Food Lion, Giant Food, Giant/Martin’s, Hannaford and Stop & Shop. It includes:

  • 1-lb. packages of Nature’s Promise ground turkey, 94% LEAN | 6% FAT, with Use by/freeze/sell by dates of 1/1/21, 1/3/21,1/4/21, 1/8/21 and 1/10/21.
  • 1-lb. packages of Wegmans ground turkey, 94% LEAN | 6% FAT, with Use by/freeze/sell-by dates of 1/3/21, 1/4/21, 1/8/21 and 1/10/21.
  • 3-lb. packages of Wegmans ground turkey, 94% LEAN | 6% FAT, with Use by/freeze/sell by date of 1/3/21, 1/4/21, 1/8/21 and 1/10/21.
  • 1-lb. packages of Plainville Farms ground white turkey, 93% | 7% Fat, with Use by/freeze/sell by date of 1/10/21.

Salmonella Hadar is Not Common

Fewer than 100 of the 2,500 known Salmonella serotypes, cause human illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published annual reports on the number of lab-confirmed cases reported for each serotype in the U.S. These reports show Salmonella Hadar isn’t very common. In the 2016 report, the most current year for which data is available, it wasn’t even in the Top 20.  Salmonella Enteritidis, which occupied the top spot in 2016 caused 7,830 illnesses, while Salmonella Hadar was responsible for 205 illnesses.

Even though it isn’t a common serotype, Salmonella Hadar has been the source of previous outbreaks. Over the last decade, the strain has been linked to a half dozen outbreaks associated with backyard poultry flocks and one outbreak linked to Jennie-O turkey burgers. The turkey burger outbreak, which occurred in 2011, sickened 12 people in 10 states.

Turkey Products That Recently Tested Positive for Salmonella Hadar

USDA FSIS, the federal agency that regulates meat and poultry, periodically tests samples of poultry products for Salmonella and publishes this information. There is one report for ground turkey and another for whole carcasses. Ground turkey is more frequently purchased than whole turkey. It’s also more frequently linked to illnesses. Since 2011, four multistate Salmonella outbreaks have been linked to turkey products and all of them have involved ground turkey.

USDA FSIS data from 2015 through September 2020 shows ground turkey tested positive for Salmonella Hadar 104 times and whole carcasses tested positive 11 times. The companies with the most positive tests for Salmonella Hadar during that period were:

  • Foster Frams, Turlock, CA (13)
  • Cargill Meat Solutions, Dayton, VA (11)
  • The Hillshire Brands Company, Storm Lake, IA (10)
  • Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, Willmar, MN (10)
  • Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, Barron, WI (9)
  • Abbyland Foods Inc., Abbotsford, WI  (9)
  • Plainville Brands, LLC, New Oxford, PA (7)
  • Michigan Turkey Producers Co-op, Inc., Grand Rapids, MI (5)
  • Butterball LLC, Carthage, MO (5)

The companies with positive tests for Salmonella Hadar during the first nine months of 2020 were:

  • Abbyland Foods Inc., Abbotsford, WI  (7)
  • Cargill Meat Solutions, Dayton, VA (4)
  • Butterball LLC, Carthage, MO (1)
  • Foster Frams, Turlock, CA (1)
  • Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, Barron, WI (1)
  • Plainville Brands, LLC, New Oxford, PA (1)

Plainville Farms Ground Turkey

Plainville Farms makes products from turkeys that were humanely raised, antibiotic-free and vegetarian-fed, according to its website. These products include fresh meats, pre-cooked meat, deli meats, and bacon. The company employs 600 people and generates $250 million in annual sales, according to a Dun & Bradstreet profile.

Hain Celestrial Group Inc. owned Plainville Farms until 2019 when the company sold its operating segment, Hain Pure Protein, to Plainville Brands, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company formed by a group of private investors.  In 2020, Plainville Farms produced 141 million pounds of turkey making it the 15th-largest turkey processor in the U.S, according to a report compiled by Watt Poultry USA.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that can be bloody. These symptoms usually appear within six to 72 hours of exposure.

If you have developed a Salmonella Hadar infection from contaminated turkey and would like a free consultation with an experienced Salmonella lawyer, please contact the Pritzker Hageman Salmonella Legal Team.

We have represented clients in every major Salmonella outbreak in the U.S. You can reach us by calling 1-888-377-8900, sending a text to 612-261-0856, or by completing the form below. There is no obligation and we don’t get paid unless we win.

UPDATED: This post was updated on April 12, to include outbreak information from the CDC.

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