33 Sickened by Salmonella-Tainted Ground Beef

33 Sickened by Salmonella-Tainted Ground Beef

Tainted Ground Beef

At least 33 people have been sickened by Salmonella-tainted ground beef produced by Cargill Meat Solutions. Cargill is located in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania.

Of the 33 who have fallen ill, 11 have required hospitalization, said NBCNews.com. The outbreak spans seven states and involves Salmonella Enteritidis, said officials with the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As we wrote yesterday, Cargill Meat Solutions just issued a recall of more than 29,000 pounds of beef over the potential Salmonella Enteritidis contamination, according to an announcement issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The recall was deemed a Class I by the FSIS, which means this product represents a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that its use will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

The 29,339 pounds of fresh ground beef involve 14-pound chub packages of “Grnd Beef Fine 85/15,” which are packed three chubs per 42-pound (approximate) cases. The products bear the establishment number “EST. 9400″ inside the USDA mark of inspection. Most of the lean ground beef—85 percent—was produced on May 25th, said NBCNews.com.

Of those sickened, 14 are from New York, 10 in Vermont, three in Massachusetts, two each in Virginia and New Hampshire, and one in Maine, the CDC said, wrote NBCNews.com. Illness reports began early last month; illnesses after June 29 might not yet be reported due to the time lag between symptoms reports and report documentation. The recall was announced after detection of the outbreak.

As we mentioned, while the use-by date has passed and these products are no longer available for retail sale, FSIS and Cargill Meat Solutions are concerned that some product may be frozen in consumers’ freezers.

The recalled products were shipped to distribution centers in Connecticut, Maine, and New York for further distribution. The recalled meat was repackaged into consumer-size packages and sold under different retail brand names. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on FSIS’ website at: www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/Open_Federal_Cases/index.asp.

Working in conjunction with the CDC, the Vermont Department of Health, the New York State Department of Health, and the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, the FSIS linked illnesses in five case-patients to the ground beef products produced at Cargill Meats. Findings were based on epidemiologic and trace back investigations, as well as in-store reviews.

This particular Salmonella Enteritidis strain is drug sensitive, which means that antibiotics can be effective in treating those patients who need them.

Both drug resistant and nonresistant Salmonella results in some one million illnesses annually, costing the U.S. $365 million, according to the CDC. About 400 people die annually from acute Salmonella poisoning.

A 2009 outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Newport was associated with Cargill Beef products; about 40 people in four states were sickened in that outbreak.

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