More people have fallen ill in the Salmonella outbreak linked to a tainted ground beef sold at Hannaford markets.
Two more people have been sickened with Salmonella Typhimurium, said Bangor Daily News. To date, a total of 16 people have been sickened, nationwide, in the growing outbreak, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Officials with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service (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, said the Bangor Daily News. This practice enables producers to sell packaged meats in different fat ratios, but also presents significant tracking challenges.
Cases of the drug-resistant Salmonella Typhimurium illnesses have been reported in Maine, Hawaii, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Kentucky and have affected people from one year of age to 70; the median age for this illness is currently 45, said the Bangor Daily News.
Of those reportedly sickened, 10 told public health officials they purchased ground beef at Hannaford in Maine, New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont, said the Bangor Daily News. 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% 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, said Hannaford officials, according to The Bangor Daily News.
Other cases of Salmonella poisoning have been reported in Maine, said the state epidemiologist, Dr. Stephen Sears, who noted that additional testing is required to determine the strain involved and if those illnesses are linked to the Hannaford ground beef cases, said The Bangor Daily News. Testing is scheduled for completion in the next week, said Sears, who noted that based on the various counties involved reporting illnesses, the contaminated beef was likely purchased at multiple locations. “It’s often very challenging to determine where a strain comes from,” Sears said, wrote the Bangor Daily News.
The PFGE pattern linked to this outbreak is reported rarely in the U.S., said the FSIS. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium has initially tested resistant to multiple commonly prescribed antibiotics, including drug classes such as beta-lactams, aminoglycosides, and cephalosporins.
Hannaford spokesman, Michael Norton, said the grocery chain recalled about 12,000 pounds of ground beef in what the 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.
Norton said that the chain implemented the “aggressive recall” of the beef, is simplifying the ground beef produced at its stores, and is utilizing “an abundance of caution” in the way in which it handles its beef products, said The Bangor Daily News.