19 Sickened In Hannaford Salmonella Outbreak, Source Of Tainted Beef Unknown

Salmonella illnesses, 19 in all, have been linked to a Hannaford Salmonella outbreak that involves ground beef from the Maine supermarket chain.

All of the sicknesses have been traced back to the Hannaford chain, said the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), wrote MSNBC. The beef bore a sell-by date of December 17. Hannaford spokesman, Michael Norton, previously said the grocery chain recalled about 12,000 pounds of ground beef in what the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) designated a Class I recall, which mean this recall represents a health hazard situation in which there exists a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

As we’ve mentioned, the Salmonella strain involved, Salmonella Typhimurium, is a multiple drug resistant strain of the food borne illness. The PFGE pattern linked to this outbreak is reported rarely in the U.S., said the FSIS and the outbreak strain initially tested as resistant to a number of commonly prescribed antibiotics, including drug classes such as beta-lactams, aminoglycosides, and cephalosporins.

Although no fatalities have been reported in connection with this outbreak, of 15 victims providing information to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seven required hospitalization, said MSNBC.

Reports of illnesses began on or after October 8, 2011 and continued through mid-December, said MSNBC. More illness reports are likely. MSNBC advises consumers to check for the recalled meat in their homes; details can be located on the USDA’s FSIS site at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_100_2011_Release/index.asp.

We recently wrote that Hannaford supermarkets are being sued over the tainted beef issue. Brian P. DiGeorgio, who claims he was sickened with Salmonellosis, the illness caused by the Salmonella bacteria, filed the lawsuit on December 21 in the U.S. District Court. DiGeorgio said he purchased and ate the ground beef on November 7 at Hannaford’s store in Latham and suffered illness that included diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps for the next two days. DiGeorgio required treatment in a hospital emergency room, where he was diagnosed with Salmonella poisoning.

According to the lawsuit, DiGeorgio lapsed into a coma at the hospital, and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. He remained in the hospital until November 23.

Officials with the FSIS said it is not able to determine from where the contaminated beef originated because Hannaford and other supermarkets tend to blend ground meats that come from multiple sources, which enables producers to sell packaged meats in different fat ratios, but also presents significant tracking challenges. Hannaford officials said all of its ground beef products with a “sell by” date of December 17 or earlier have been recalled and that the products involved contain 73 – 90 percent beef and include Hannaford Regular, Taste of Inspirations Angus, and Nature’s Place ground beef. The recalled beef was blended at the individual Hannaford stores where sold, according to Hannaford officials.

Cases of the drug-resistant Salmonella Typhimurium illnesses were recently reported in Maine, Hawaii, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Kentucky and have affected people from one year of age to 70.

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