Banquet Salmonella Pot PieA nationwide Salmonella outbreak has been traced to pot pies produced by ConAgra and distributed under the Banquet brand name.  Today, the Washington Department of Health announced that three Salmonella cases in the state were probably linked to the outbreak:

Three cases of salmonellosis in Washington may be linked to frozen pot pies, part of a national outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people in several states.

The Washington cases are potentially linked to products made by ConAgra, most of which were sold under the Banquet brand name.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a health alert advising consumers not to eat ConAgra frozen pot pies with "P9" in the identification code printed on the box. USDA says the pot pies are sold under Banquet and store-brand names, each containing the "P9" identifier.

The Minnesota Department of Health also released a statement about the outbreak today:

Six cases of Salmonella infection in Minnesota residents have been linked to eating Banquet brand turkey or chicken pot pies, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said today. The finding prompted health and agriculture officials to warn consumers not to eat any Banquet brand pot pies. An investigation is ongoing.

Banquet brand pot pies are sold in the freezer section at grocery stores and other outlets throughout the country. Pot pies made at the same plant are also sold under a dozen store labels, but all carry a code number beginning with 5009. “Best if used by” dates for implicated product are not known at this time.

Three of the Minnesota cases are adults and three are children. Five of the cases are from outstate Minnesota, and one is from the Twin Cities metro area. No one has been hospitalized.

The Minnesota cases are part of a much larger multi-state outbreak of Salmonella infections. Since June, at least 135 confirmed cases have been identified from approximately 25 states. The six Minnesota cases were reported in September; interviews of these cases by MDH epidemiologists led to the identification of Banquet pot pies as the source of the illnesses. The national investigation to determine the extent of the outbreak, production dates of contaminated product, and the source of contamination is ongoing.

  • John Munsell

    Salmonella is classified as an “Enteric” bacteria, which by definition means it emanated from within animals’ intestines. Intestines are only found at slaughter plants, revealing that salmonella-laced meat is created by sloppy dressing procedures at poultry kill plants. Poultry have historically tested at a high incidence of salmonella bacteria.
    ConAgra’s plants which produce pot pies have no intestines on their facilities. The pathogen arrived at ConAgra’s plants in the form of previously contaminated meat. Will USDA traceback to the slaughter plant SOURCE of contamination? No. USDA is perfectly comfortable assessing all enforcement actions against the downline DESTINATION of pathogen-contaminated meat. Until USDA aggressively implements a proactive traceback to the slaughterhouse ORIGIN of enteric bacteria like salmonella and e.coli, consumers are virtually guaranteed numerous future recurrences of sicknesses and recalls.
    2007’s dramatic increase in e.coli recalls reveals the same pattern. The majority of e.coli recalls, many of which entailed hundreds of thousands of pounds (one was over 5 million, another over 21 million) occurred at downline, further processing non-slaughter plants. These further processing plants (like ConAgra’s pot pie plant) are at the total mercy of the sanitation standards in place at their SOURCE slaughter supplier plants. Furthermore, when this meat arrives at the downline plants, the bacteria are invisible and can only be detected via microbial sampling, but plants cannot test 100 % of the meat, or no meat would be left to process. The ultimate irony in this scenario is that all meat purchased from the SOURCE slaughter plants arrives at the downstream plant in containers marked with USDA’s official Mark of Inspection which says “USDA Inspected and Passed”. At one time, the Mark of Inspection was synonymous with guaranteed wholesomeness.
    The plethora of lawsuits which have occurred as a result of outbreaks show that the Mark of Inspection is no guarantee of product safety/wholesomeness. Furthermore, USDA’s adroit avoidance of performing tracebacks to the SOURCE of contamination reveals that the agency intentionally insulates the slaughter house origin of contamination, while hammering the downline DESTINATION plants for operating an allegedly unsafe production plant.
    Americans have grown accustomed to $3 gasoline. We also need to grow accustomed to increased numbers of salmonella and e.coli recalls and sicknesses. This will continue until USDA accepts their congressional mandate to protect the public from food-borne outbreaks. Right now, USDA is more concerned in protecting the multi-national slaughter corporations which enjoy political connections and the financial werewithal to engage the agency in protracted litigation.
    John Munsell, Manager
    Foundation for Accountability in Regulatory Enforcement (FARE)
    Miles City, MT

  • heather

    i am the consumer who reported salmonella to the usda in december from a banquet turkey meal, i keep reading about my report in different websites and i thought everyone who seems to be so interested in it would be interested in the whole truth, my 3 year old disabled son nearly died from salmonella poisoning, i am told it is the worst case in the country from the banquet recall, he was sick for 10+ days and hospitalized for 4 days he had seizures and had blood stools, not blood in his stool but actually blood instead of stool and nearly died. we were contacted by an adjuster from conagra who wanted to know what happened and said that it was not con agras fault that my son became ill and that i had no proof without the meal to be tested, now how am i supposed to have a meal that can be tested when the kid ate it? how conveinient for con agra ! the adjuster then went on to tell me that con agra has no liability to my family and that i cant prove anything, i said we have confirmed salmonella here and he said oh well no meal no deal and i said well my son almost died and he said no meal no deal and i said your company should be ashamed and he HUNG UP on me! now conagras stand in the media is we apologize blah blah blah – but in real life they almost kill your child and then yell at you and treat you like you are stupid and hang up !