An outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis caused by Cargill ground beef has now sickened 40 people in eight states, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That’s an increase of seven since the outbreak was announced on July 26, 2012. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, the CDC, Vermont Department of Health, New York State Department of Health, and New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets has linked five of the cases to the ground beef products produced by Cargill based on epidemiologic and traceback investigations as well as in-store reviews.
The number of ill persons in each states is as follows: Maine (1), Massachusetts (3), New Hampshire (2), New York (18), Rhode Island (2), Vermont (11), Virginia (2), and West Virginia (1). The new state in the outbreak is West Virginia. So far, 11 people have been hospitalized in this outbreak. No deaths have been reported.
Cargill Meat Solutions recalled 29,339 pounds of fresh ground beef products on July 22, 2012. Some of the beef may still be in consumers’ freezers. The recalled products have the establishment number “EST. 9400” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The use-by date of the ground beef has passed, since the meat was produced on May 25, 2012, and the products are no longer available for sale.
One of the problems with the recall is that the original products, which were 14 pound chub packages of “Grnd Beef Fine 85/15”, is that they were repackaged into consumer-sized packages and sold under different retail brand names. You can see the retail distribution list, which was posted July 24, 2012, at the USDA site.
Illness onset dates range from June 6, 2012 to July 9, 2012. Ill persons range in age from 3 years to 101 years. The median patient age is 50 years. Fifty-three percent of the patients are female. Illnesses that occurred after July 10, 2012, may not yet be reported because of the time it takes between diagnosing an illness and reporting it. Salmonella is not considered an illegal adulterant in meat products; until someone gets sick.