Monday, 30 January 2012

Cargill Ground Turkey Recall is Third Largest in History- Highlights Industry Struggle with Salmonella & Another BioLargo Opportunity


Salmonella Outbreak Was Costly Quarter for Cargill

Minneapolis-based Cargill is out with an earnings report showing the recall of 18,000 tons of ground turkey and the associated plant closure coincides with one of its "weakest quarters" ever for its meat business.

Cargill said it earned $100 million from continuing operations for the fiscal 2012 quarter ended Nov. 30, 2011 but it represents an 88 percent decrease from the $832 million earned during the same period a year earlier.

During the costly quarter, Cargill initiated the recall on Aug. 3 of ground turkey associated with a nationwide outbreak of drug resistant Salmonella Heidelberg. It also shut down its ground turkey plant at Springdale, AR.. It did not reopen until Dec. 19.

Cargill revenue during the quarter was up 17 percent, reaching $33.3 billion, up from 28.5 billion a year earlier.

"The second quarter was significantly below expectations, especially in contrast to last year when we posted our strongest quarter ever," said Greg Page, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer.

Page blames commodity and financial markets, the company's poor performance in the sugar market, and one-time costs along with the weak meat business for the earnings decline.

The quarter obviously was not a good one either for the 136 people from 34 states infected with the drug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg after eating ground turkey. One person died. The illnesses were contracted between July 29 and Aug. 3.

The Cargill ground turkey recall was the third largest meat recall in U.S. history.

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1 comment:

  1. Annual Foodborne Illnesses Cost $77 Billion, Study Finds
    Foodborne illness poses a $77.7 billion economic burden in the United States annually, according to a new study published in the Journal of Food Protection.

    The new estimate is significantly lower than the oft-cited $152 billion figure, which was calculated by Robert Scharff, a consumer science professor at Ohio State University, in 2010. The new study, also by Scharff, reflects the most up-to-date estimates on foodborne illness by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to estimate total annual health-related costs.

    As Scharff notes in his study (Journal of Food Protection, subscription required), the new CDC foodborne illness estimates, though still concerning, are significantly lower than previously thought, thus making earlier economic estimates outdated and "obsolete."

    A 1999 CDC study -- which was widely cited until last year -- estimated that each year there were 76 million cases, 5,000 deaths, and 325,000 hospitalizations caused by foodborne pathogens. The latest study from CDC estimates that each year there are approximately 48 million cases, 3,000 deaths, and 128,000 hospitalizations.

    Using the new data, Scharff's study utilizes two models to estimate total health-related costs.

    The basic cost-of-illness model includes economic estimates for medical costs, productivity losses, and illness-related death. Using this basic model, Scharff estimates the total annual cost is $51 billion.

    The enhanced model "replaces the productivity loss estimates with a more inclusive pain, suffering, and functional disability measure based on monetized quality-adjusted life year estimates," according to the study. Using this enhanced model, Scharff estimates the total annual cost is $77.7 billion.

    The numbers may sound daunting, but they do not represent the total economic burden of foodborne illnesses. The study does not include costs to the food industry, including reduced consumer confidence, recall losses, or litigation, nor does it included the cost to public health agencies, local, state, and federal, that respond to illnesses and outbreaks.

    © Food Safety News
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