Hormel Food Corp.'s (HRL) shares held steady Friday morning after news that its Jennie-O brand is voluntarily recalling thousands of pounds of turkey products out of concern they may be linked to the recent outbreak of Salmonella bacteria.
By noon, shares were trading up around 1%, closing at $45.89. But the news is still a setback for the brand, just before the Thanksgiving holiday, with some 91,388 pounds of ground, raw turkey products getting recalled.
USDA investigators, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Arizona Department of Health Services, had tested unopened Jennie-O brand turkey from the home of a patient who fell ill and it matched outbreak strain, prompting the recall, according to the USDA.
All of the turkey products were produced on Sept. 11 and have use-by dates of Oct. 1 or Oct. 2, according to the, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Though poultry was old, some people may still be storing it in their freezers, and if so, should return it or throw it away, says the USDA.
"On behalf of the thousands of Jennie-O team members, we were concerned to learn that someone became ill after exposure to Salmonella in a raw turkey product," said Steve Lykken, president of the Jennie-O Turkey Store, in a statement, adding that the turkey industry has been working to reduce Salmonella contamination and that the "issue of Salmonella isn't specific to Jennie-O."
Some 164 people in 35 states have been sickened by the current outbreak of the so-called Reading strain of the bacteria, according to the CDC. One person has died and dozens more have been hospitalized.
Eating food that's been contaminated with Salmonella can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever within 12 to 72 hours. While the severity can vary, the sickness can last up to 7 days.
Hormel will release its fourth-quarter earnings report Tuesday.