Statement of CSPI food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal
USDA has disclosed for the first time that the strain of Listeria associated with 46 illnesses and at least 7 deaths likely originated in the Wampler food plant that recently recalled 27 million pounds of turkey. It is urgent that people return the recalled product to the point of sale or discard it.
USDA's attempt to hide the truth about the situation at the Wampler plant was a gross disservice to the public.
Ongoing environmental sampling is urgently needed in all ready-to-eat meat plants, with the results immediately disclosed by federal inspectors in the plants. We urge USDA to act promptly to finalize an existing proposal to require all companies that produce these products to test for Listeria in their facilities.