USDA announces recall of 36M lbs of ground turkey

MARY CLARE JALONICK - Associated Press
View photos
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks to the International Association for Food Protection Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011, in Milwaukee. Afterward, he told The Associated Press that the government hopes to find the source of a salmonella outbreak linked to ground turkey "very, very" soon. (AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Agriculture Department says meat giant Cargill is recalling 36 million pounds of ground turkey linked to a death in California and at least 76 other salmonella illnesses.

Illnesses in the outbreak date back to March and have been reported in 26 states coast to coast.

Government officials say that even contaminated ground turkey is safe to eat if it is cooked to 165 degrees and handled properly before cooking.