Cargill is collaborating with the CDC and the USDA to make sure that consumers have easy access to any pertinent information about poultry products and salmonella, such as what cooking temperature will kill the bacteria.
The company is also helping government authorities figure out the direct link and cause to the outbreak among turkey products.
“They're tying to hone in on an answer and all we want to do is try and help them in that process,” said Mike Fernandez, VP of corporate affairs at Cargill.
The food-processing and distributing company, which is active in 66 countries, currently has a team working on various social media channels to ensure that accurate information is being provided to the public through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and online news sites.
Traditional media outlets are also being monitored, Fernandez added, to ensure that the “best facts are available.”
According to Fernandez, there is no direct link to Cargill regarding the salmonella outbreak, but the company still halted all activities at its processing plant in Springdale, AR, which processes ground turkey.
Cargill is examining every stage of its ground turkey production to see where “problems or challenges” may exist so that they can be eliminated in the future. With the help of the government, the company is planning on running specific tests to figure out the exact source of the bacteria.
Fernandez said the company decided to pull its products because Cargill is a large provider of ground turkey and because of the geographical locations where some of the contaminations took place.
“What we're doing, which I think is what more companies should attempt to do, is thinking about what's in the best interest of your customers and the consuming public and make the right call,” he explained. “That's what we've done here and we'll have to see how things develop.”
Fernandez joined Cargill nearly a year ago from State Farm, where he served as VP of public affairs.