The Brown County, Indiana Health Department is warning consumers not to buy meat out of the back of a truck. The Brown County Democrat reports that someone has been attempting to sell meat illegally in the area.
Jennifer Heller Rugenstein of the Brown County Health Department said in a statement put out by officials, “None of these people are authorized to sell meat in this county. The health department has strict requirements to sell any kind of food within the county. The only authorized mobile meat vendor in our county is Schwan Foods in the yellow truck. There is great risk in buying meat or seafood from unlicensed vendors. Sometimes this meat is obtained from places where it has been discarded due to being past the usable date, and it is repackaged and resold.”
You do not know how the meat was handled and stored, or if it was held out of refrigeration too long. These products can contain E. coli, Salmonella, or other pathogenic bacteria that can make you very sick.
All vendors selling meat and other foods should have a license from the health department. And meats and products made with meats should have a USDA mark of inspection. If that license is not properly displayed or the vendor can’t show it do you, don’t buy those food products. Contact the police, the health department, or the sheriff if you see someone trying to illegal sell meat or other foods.
A Salmonella outbreak in California last year highlights the risk of buying foods from unlicensed vendors. At least 50 people were sickened with salmonellosis from illegally made and sold Mexican-style cheese in March 2016. And in 2014, at least 100 people were sickened with Salmonella food poisoning after eating illegally manufactured cheese sold in Chicago and the surrounding areas. Those products were sold from street vendors, at train stations, and at worksites.