Cargill has restarted manufacturing selected ground turkey products at the plant linked to the recent salmonella outbreak.

The US agribusiness giant said yesterday (17 August) it resumed ground turkey production at its site in the city of Springfield in Arkansas late last week.

Earlier this month, Cargill suspended production of ground turkey at the plant and recalled 36m pounds of products after an investigation linked the site to an outbreak of salmonella heidelberg.

The latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released last Friday, said 107 people across 31 states had been infected with salmonella heidelberg. Of those, one person has been reported dead.

Cargill said yesterday it had restarted producing ground turkey lines not affected by the recall. It is also manufacturing one product that was recalled, a 93% lean ground turkey line, on a “limited basis”.

Production was restarted after Cargill drew up an “enhanced food safety plan”, which, it said, was approved by the US department of agriculture.

Among the measures, Cargill said it had set up an “independent panel of food safety, animal health and microbiology experts” to review its actions.

“The measures we have put in place make our food safety plan at Springdale the most aggressive in the industry, with the goal of providing safe turkey and preventing a recurrence,” Cargill said.

“The origin of the salmonella is still under investigation, although we know it arrived with the birds. Also, our customers are anxious to get ground turkey back into their meat cases.”

Last week, US food safety officials admitted they had discovered a form of salmonella at the Cargill plant last year but were legally unable to move for a recall until the bacteria caused illness among consumers.