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JBS Tolleson Inc. has enacted a ground beef recall of almost 7 million pounds of products after officials said they were the “probable source” of a Salmonella outbreak in which 57 people were sickened in 16 states.
The illnesses were reported in 16 states between August 5 and September 6. Fourteen patients have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). No deaths have been reported.
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 267” inside the USDA mark of inspection and were shipped nationwide. The complete list of what Arizona-based JBS Tolleson calls “various raw, non-intact beef products” can be found here.
The recalled products were packaged between July 26 and September 7 and sold under brand names Walmart, Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, Showcase, Showcase/Walmart, and JBS Generic.
Receipts and shopper cards from eight patients helped investigators identify the source of the outbreak.
Ground beef recall: warnings
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued two warnings to consumers:
- “FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.”
- “The only way to confirm that ground beef or other cuts of beef are cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature.”
Ground beef recall: about Salmonella
People infected with Salmonella develop an illness called salmonellosis. They start to experience diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps between 12 and 72 hours after becoming infected. Most people recover within about a week, and they don’t need to see a health-care professional.
However, diarrhea can become so severe that hospitalization is required. For those patients, the infection might spread to the blood. When this occurs, Salmonella can result in severe consequences – even death – unless they are treated promptly.
Young children, senior citizens, and people with weakened immune systems – especially pregnant women – are at the greatest risk of developing complications.
Ground beef recall: pregnancies at risk
A Salmonella infection can lead to numerous complications during pregnancy, including:
- bacteria in the blood (bacteremia), which can cause problems such as meningitis, an infection that results in swelling in the brain and spinal cord.
- reactive arthritis, which is also called Reiter’s syndrome; this produces swelling or pain in the joints (knees, ankles, toes).
A pregnant woman also can pass the Salmonella bacteria to her baby. If a baby is born with salmonellosis, they can experience diarrhea and fever, and might even develop meningitis.
Ground beef recall: not the first
Just last week, the USDA published an updated list of retailers that received Cargill ground beef products potentially contaminated with E. coli.
The list includes Target stores across the country, as well as Aldi stores in the Midwest, including Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Other chains involved in the recall include: FoodMaxx, Meijer, Pak N Save, Publix, Safeway/Albertson’s, Sam’s Club, and Vons. The list can be found here.
The recall was enacted after both the USDA and CDC pinpointed Cargill ground beef as the probable source of a nationwide E. coli outbreak in which one person has died and 17 others have been sickened. All 18 cases occurred in July across four states: Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, and Tennessee.
Ground beef recall: the last word
Again, because of the nature of this huge recall, remember: Consumers are urged to check their freezers and throw out any ground beef that could be contaminated.