A Salmonella outbreak linked to Cargill ground beef sold at Hannaford stores has sickened 33 people in seven states and hospitalized least two, according to the latest information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA, FSIS). Cargill Meat Solutions, in Wyalusing, Pa., has issued a recall of 29,339 pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis.
FSIS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state health departments had been working in cooperation on an ongoing investigation of a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis when the link was extablished. So far, there are 33 case-patients from seven states: Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Vermont.
The recalled meat was sold in late May and early June at Hannaford stores in MA, ME, NH, NY, VT. Although the “use-by” date has passed and the products are no longer being sold, officials are concerned that some consumers may still have the product in their freezers.
If ingested, Salmonella can cause an infection called salmonellosis. Symptoms of salmonellosis include fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps which usually develop 12 to 72 hours after exposure and last for several days. Chills, headache, nausea and vomiting can sometimes accompany the other symptoms. Salmonellosis can be serious and sometimes life-threatening for those most at risk including children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Officials encourage anyone who ate the recalled product and developed these symptoms to see a health care provider.
FSIS used in-store reviews, epidemiologic, and traceback investigations to link illnesses in five case-patients to the ground beef products. Among these case patients, two of whom were hospitalized, illness onset dates ranged from June 6, 2012 to June 13, 2012. The Vermont Department of Health performed tests on leftover product which were positive for Salmonella Enteritidis matching the outbreak strain.
The recalled ground beef was produced on May 25, 2012 and shipped to distribution centers in New York, Connecticut and Maine. It was initially sold wholesale in 14-pound chubs labeled ”Grnd Beef Fine 85/15″ and packed three chubs to a case. The chubs had the establishment number “EST. 9400″ inside the USDA mark of inspection. The meat was repackaged into retail sizes and sold under a variety of brand names. Hannaford is the only retailer on the retail distribution list, so far. FSIS says the list will be updated as information becomes available.