Nearly 30,000 pounds of Cargill ground beef are being recalled due to concerns that it may be responsible for a salmonella food poisoning outbreak that has sickened at least 33 people in seven states.
The Cargill ground beef recall was announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on July 22, due to concerns that meat produced and distributed by Cargill Meat Solutions may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis.
The action was taken as the result of a multi-state salmonella infection outbreak, which has resulted in illnesses in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia and Vermont.
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 distributed by Cargill
The recall affects 29,339 pounds of meat labeled “Grnd Beef Fine 85/15,” sold in cases containing three 14 pound chub packages. The meat has an establishment number of “EST. 9400” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These products were produced on May 25, 2012, and were shipped to distribution centers in Connecticut, Maine and New York for further distribution. The meat was likely repackaged and sold under other labels and retail brand names.
Even though the use-by date has passed, the concern is that people may still have the products frozen in their freezers at home.
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing mild to severe food poisoning. For most healthy adults, symptoms of food poisoning from salmonella typically resolve after a few days or weeks. However, young children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems have an increased risk of suffering severe food poisoning after ingesting the bacteria. If not properly treated, some cases of salmonella food poisoning can lead to hospitalization, dehydration or death.
Salmonella serotype Enteritidis (SE) is one of the most common serotypes of Salmonella bacteria reported worldwide. The strain of Salmonella Enteritidis associated with the ground beef recall is not antibiotic resistant.
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.
This is the second year Cargill has been the subject of a major meat recalls. Last year, a massive ground turkey recall was issued for 36 million pounds of meat produced by the company. That meat was believed to have been contaminated with Salmonella Heidelberg, which was suspected to have caused at least 79 illnesses across the U.S., including at least one death. Cargill faced a number of food poisoning lawsuits as a result of that ground turkey recall.
Consumers with questions about the latest Cargill recall can call the company’s consumer information line at (888) 812-1646.