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‘U’ Researchers Work To Prevent Salmonella Outbreaks

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – More than 75 people are sick and one person has died from salmonella poisoning linked to ground turkey. Now 36 million pounds of ground turkey from Minnesota-based Cargill are being recalled because of more salmonella concerns.

This is the third largest recall ever. The packages involved are marked with the code “Est. P963.”

Two University of Minnesota professors say they know how to prevent these types of outbreaks. They each use a different technique, but one is locked up in the research stage while the other has been fighting public perception for years.

Dr. Mike Osterholm said this recall actually goes back to February and since that time the majority of the turkey has either been consumed or discarded.

Osterholm also said all ground poultry poses a risk of salmonella contamination, while all beef poses a risk for E. coli.

That’s why he thinks food irradiation should be universally adopted by all food processors. But many people can’t get past the word “irradiation.”

“Consumers are not properly informed. People are frightened of the term. The media frequently will talk about zapping food which then gives people the sense that somehow it must be radioactive. They don’t understand its electricity; they don’t under it’s electron beam. There are really no downsides,” said Osterholm.

On Thursday, another University of Minnesota professor announced research that could be easier for consumers to swallow.

“It’s natural, it’s proteins that you eat everyday and essentially will keep you safe from many of these pathogens,” said Professor Dan O’Sullivan.

His team discovered and received a patent for a naturally occurring lantibiotic, something found in your gut.

“This is a type of a natural peptide that has the potential to protect against these types of bacteria; the E. coli and the salmonella,” said O’Sullivan. “But it could be 1 to 3 years before it’s ready to be tested in the commercial sector.”

Despite Cargill’s voluntary recall, the USDA and CDC are still working to identify the source, but it has shutdown production at a plant in Arkansas

Nearly 25 different types of ground turkey are affected by this recall, for a complete list, click on the link below.

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