Monday, July 23, 2012

Ground meat recalled after linked to salmonellosis cases

Upadate 8/6/12:  CDC updated the number of illnesses to 40.

Cargill is recalling approximately 29339 lbs of ground beef after the product was linked to Salmonella enteritidis infections. The recalled product was produced on May 25, 2012 and although the product would be past the expiration date, there is concern that some may still have this meat in thier freezer.

The strain that was responsible for this illness, Salmonella enteritidis or SE, is more often associated with poultry. According to the CDC - "Eggs have been the most common food source linked to SE infections.....Since the early 2000s, poultry has also been found to be a common food source for SE infections. Multiple other, less frequently identified sources include raw milk, pork, beef, sprouts, and raw almonds."

Cargill sells chubs of meat to retailers who then repackage this product into retail sized packages. These packages will have the store brand on the label, but will show the same USDA establishment number 9400.

This is an interesting recall from the standpoint that this strain is not an antibiotic resistant strain of Salmonella and it was in raw meat, not a RTE product. Unlike E. coli STEC strains which are considered an adulterant in ground beef, Salmella is not. Cargill had recalled ground turkey for Salmonella, but those strains were antibiotic resistant and thus more difficult to treat. Well if we can expect that ground beef may have Salmonella present, then why recall? Since this strain in this product has been linked to at least 5 illnesses, USDA and Cargill decided it was in the best interest of the public. However, are we getting to a point when raw meat products will be expected to have no pathogens?

Cargill recalls US ground beef after salmonella outbreak

July 23 | Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:06pm IST

July 23 (Reuters) - Nearly 15 tons of ground beef have been recalled by a unit of agriculture conglomerate Cargill Inc in connection with a seven-state outbreak of salmonella across the northeast and Virginia, the United States Department of Agriculture said.

Cargill Meat Solutions, based in Wichita, Kansas, voluntarily recalled 29,339 pounds of fresh ground beef products produced at its Wyalusing, Pa., plant that may be contaminated with salmonella, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced late Sunday.

The products were produced on May 25, 2012, and shipped to distribution centers in Connecticut, Maine and New York. The recalled meat was sold in Hannaford supermarket stores in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, said the USDA.

Though the meat's use-by date has passed and it is no longer sold at retail, the recall was made on concerns that some product may be frozen in consumers' freezers, the USDA said.

In a press release, Hannaford alerted their customers in all markets to check their freezers with ground beef with "use or sell by" dates between May 29 and June 16, promising a full refund for any returned meat.

USDA Recall News Release
Pennsylvania Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products Due To Possible Salmonella Contamination

Recall Release CLASS I RECALL

Congressional and Public Affairs
(202) 720-9113
Richard J. McIntire

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2012 - Cargill Meat Solutions, a Wyalusing, Pa., establishment, is recalling 29,339 pounds of fresh ground beef products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The products subject to recall, sold wholesale and for further processing:

14 pound chub packages of "Grnd Beef Fine 85/15", packed 3 chubs to approximate 42-pound cases.

The products subject to recall bears the establishment number "EST. 9400" inside the USDA mark of inspection. While the use-by date has passed and these products are no longer available for retail sale, FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen in consumers' freezers. These products were produced on May 25, 2012, and were shipped to distribution centers in Connecticut, Maine and New York for further distribution.
It is important to note that the above listed products were 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:

FSIS became aware of the problem during the course of an
ongoing investigation of a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis involving 33 case-patients from 7 states (MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VA, VT-preliminary data, subject to change). Working in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Vermont Department of Health, New York State Department of Health, and New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, FSIS was able to link illnesses in five case-patients to the ground beef products produced at this establishment based on epidemiologic and traceback investigations, as well as in-store reviews. Illness onset dates among these five case-patients ranged from June 6, 2012 to June 13, 2012. Two of the five case-patients were hospitalized. Leftover product with no packaging information collected during the course of this investigation by the Vermont Department of Health tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis with the outbreak strain. This outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis is drug sensitive, meaning antibiotics can be effective in treating patients who need them. FSIS is continuing to work with CDC and public health partners on the investigation.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or those undergoing chemotherapy. The most common manifestations of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160° F. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature.

Consumers who have questions are encouraged to call the company's consumer information line at (888) 812-1646. Media with questions regarding the recall can contact Michael Martin, the company's media contact, at (316) 291-2126.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at or via smartphone at " Ask Karen" live chat services are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.
Recommendations for Preventing Salmonellosis

Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water. Clean up spills right away.

Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.

Cook raw meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures before eating. The safe internal temperature for ground meat such as beef and pork is 160° F, and 165° F for poultry, as determined with a food thermometer.

Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.

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