Jennie-O Turkey Store of Willmar has recalled about 55,000 pounds of frozen raw turkey burgers, fearing they may be contaminated with salmonella.

The nationwide recall includes 4-pound cartons of Jennie-O's "All Natural Turkey Burgers With Seasonings: Lean White Meat."

The boxes contain 12 individually wrapped burgers and have a use-by date of Dec. 23, 2011.

The burgers were sold only at Sam's Club Stores.

Consumers are being advised not to eat the burgers. Instead, they may return them to a Sam's Club store for a refund.

Jennie-O Turkey chose to recall the meat "because of potential illness from salmonella," Richard A. Carlson, vice president of quality management at Jennie-O Turkey Store said in an e-mail Sunday.

The Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services first alerted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) about a patient diagnosed with salmonellosis, a common bacterial foodborne illness.

As more people became sick, the investigation expanded to include a dozen people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Washington and Wisconsin. They all were found to have the same illness between December 2010 and March 2011.

USDA officials have determined that three of the patients reported eating the Jennie-O turkey burgers before they developed symptoms and were hospitalized. There is a link between the outbreak and the recalled burgers, the USDA investigation found.

So far, no one from Minnesota is known to have become sick from the same outbreak.

Alison Patti, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said that the victims ranged in age from 1 to 86 and that no one has died as a result of eating the burgers.

The USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service continues to investigate, and says more raw turkey products may be recalled.

The most common symptoms of salmonella are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever.

Jennie-O has created an online resource for consumers at

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Allie Shah • 612-673-4488