Government health officials are warning that salmonella bacteria detected in an outbreak of food poisoning from popular turkey burgers may be resistant to common drugs used to fight serious infection.
At least a dozen people in 10 states have been sickened by raw, frozen turkey burger products produced by the Jennie-O Turkey Store. The firm recalled nearly 55,000 pounds of the meat last week after illnesses were reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC officials announced that the strain of Samonella Hadar found in the meat appear to be resistant to several common antibiotics, including ampicillin, amoxicillin/clavulanate, cephalothin and tetracycline.
Drug resistance can "increase the risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals," a CDC statement said.
So far, illnesses have been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Washington and Wisconsin. Investigators have not been able to confirm that all of the ill people actually ate the burgers; however, at least three peple in Colorado, Ohio and Wisconsin specifically reported eating the turkey burgers the week before they became ill. Samples of turkey burgers taken from patients' homes in Colorado and Wisconsin tested positive for Salmonella Hadar.
The recall includes 4-pound boxes of Jennie-O Turkey Store All Natural Turkey Burgers with seasonings Lean White Meat. Each box contains 12 1/3-pound individually wrapped burgers. The boxes are marked with a use-by date of Dec. 23, 2011 and a lot code of 32710 through 32780. Establishment number P-7760 is located within a USDA mark of inspection on the front of each box.
Health officials warn that recalled turkey burgers might still be in grocery stores and in consumers' homes, including in the freezer. Consumers should return the product to the place of purchase for a refund. Otherwise, dispose of the product in a closed plastic bag placed in a sealed trash can to prevent animals from eating the meat.