An outbreak of salmonella food poisoning, which has sickened at least 16 people in five states, has been linked to ground beef that is now being recalled by two retailers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Salmonella Typhimurium warning on January 25, indicating that it the agency is tracking an outbreak that has sickened nine people in Michigan, three in Wisconsin, and one each in Arizona, Illinois, and Iowa. Seven of those who reported getting sick have been hospitalized.
At least seven of the cases have been linked to meat in kibbeh, a traditional Arab dish that uses raw ground beef, that was served at an unnamed suburban Detroit restaurant.
The CDC reports that the illnesses occurred between December 9, 2012, and January 7 of this year. Working with local public health officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS), investigators used DNA fingerprints to track the strain of Salmonella Typhimurium back to ground beef products by Jouni Meats, Inc. and Gab Halal Foods.
A Jouni Meats ground beef recall was announced on January 24, affecting about 500 pounds of meat packaged in various sizes. The ground beef was produced between December 4 and December 9 and distributed to a restaurant in Macomb County, Michigan. It was also sold directly from a Jouni Meats store in Sterling Heights, Michigan. The packages had no labels.
A Gab Halal Foods ground beef recall was announced on January 25. That recall affected about 550 pounds of ground beef, also sold in various sizes without a label. The meat was produced between December 4 and December 10 and sold at the same restaurant.
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing mild to severe food poisoning. Symptoms may include diarrhea, fever, headache and abdominal pain that usually begins one to 10 days after exposure.
For most healthy adults, symptoms of salmonella poisoning typically resolve within a few days or weeks. However, young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems may have an increased risk of severe food poisoning, which may result in hospitalization, dehydration or death if not properly treated.
Both the CDC and the FSIS recommend that ground beef be fully cooked before it is eaten. The CDC recommends that consumers who may have purchased the meat do not eat it and either dispose of it or return it to the place of purchase.