October 16, 2018

Salmonella Typhimurium Ground Beef Outbreak Grows

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its investigation into the Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak linked to ground beef sold at Jouni Meats, Inc. and Gab Halal Foods. So far, 18 people have been sickened with the outbreak strain of the bacteria in 5 states. Seven people have been hospitalized; there have been no deaths.

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The case count is as follows: Arizona (1), Iowa (1), Illinois (2), Michigan (9) and Wisconsin (5). The investigation has revealed that ground beef produced by the two facilities are the “likely sources” of this outbreak. Seven of the patients ate kibbeh, a raw ground beef dish, at the same restaurant before becoming ill. That restaurant acquired the raw beef from the two retailers.

Fred Pritzker, a national food safety attorney who has represented clients sickened by contaminated ground beef, said, “restaurants should be careful when serving raw or undercooked ground meats, since they can be easily contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. In addition, restaurants should not serve recalled products.” Kibbe, or kibbeh, is a traditional Middle Eastern specialty that is usually made with freshly ground beef.

In this outbreak, illness onset dates range from December 9, 2012 to January 7, 2013. The patients range in age from 2 to 87 years, with a median age of 47 years. Fifty percent of ill persons are female. Illnesses that occurred after January 24, 2013 may not be reported yet because it can take two weeks between illness onset and reporting to authorities.

The public is warned to thoroughly cook all ground meats to a final internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Consumers should not eat raw beef, which can be contaminated with E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and other dangerous bacteria. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the food before you serve it. A recall of the beef in question is still in effect. Gab Halal Foods is recalling 550 pounds of ground beef, while Jouni Meats is recalling 500 pounds. Both facilities are located in Michigan.

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