Cargill extends HPP in food contamination prevention efforts

By Mark Astley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food safety Foodborne illness

Cargill extends HPP in food contamination prevention efforts
Cargill has adopted high-pressure processing (HPP) at its ground turkey production facilities in an attempt to prevent future contaminations, the company announced.

The use of HPP at its Springdale, Arkansas-based facility is one of several measures being implemented by the company in an effort to enhance food safety and reduce the potential for Salmonella contamination – the cause of the facility closure earlier this year.

HPP and other measures have been implemented as part of a US Department of Agriculture (USDA)-approved enhanced food safety plan.

One of Cargill’s four ground turkey production lines has resumed production, with the remaining three likely to be activated in coming weeks.

Production was suspended at the facility, and 36m pounds (16.4m kg) of ground turkey were recalled earlier this year after a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella was traced back to the Springdale plant.

The contamination was linked to over 100 illnesses across 31 states and one death.

Improved bacterial reduction

Since the recalls, food safety scientists at Cargill have been exploring solutions to reduce the risk of Salmonella contamination in its processed turkey.

“No stone has been left unturned as we searched for answers to help us improve food safety,”​ said Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill Value Added Meats Retail.

A complete reassessment and overhaul of the facility’s food safety plan has been implemented, including several new safety measures.

The introduction of HPP technology, improved bacterial reduction steps throughout processing and the implementation of a three-phase ground turkey sampling and monitoring system - which Cargill claim is the most rigorous in the country - have been applied in the facilities.

“With the collective knowledge, experience and capabilities we’ve tapped to find solutions, we are confident in our ability to better ensure the safest ground turkey products available for consumers,” ​added Willardsen.

Cargill believes this phased approach to the resumption of processing will ensure the measures put in place are working as originally intended.

Enhancing food safety reported on Cargill’s adoption of HPP in its beef burger patty production earlier this year.

Cargill claimed at the time that the use of HPP would double the shelf-life of meats, such as beef burger patties, while enhancing food safety without compromising quality.

“It is an entirely natural process that does not use high temperatures, chemicals or irradiation, while retaining the nutrient value and freshness of the ground beef,”​ said a company statement at the time.

“High pressure processing of foods is a well-established treatment to mitigate contamination by harmful microbes such as Salmonella, E.coli O157:H7 and Listeria, without adversely affecting the product’s taste and quality,”​ food safety Professor Michael Doyle told at the time.

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