April 17, 2024

Salmonella Outbreak Associated With Restore Public House in La Crosse WI

A Salmonella outbreak associated with steak tartare served at Restore Public House in La Crosse, Wisconsin has sickened 17 people, Jen Rombalski, Health Director of the La Crosse County Health Department told Food Poisoning Bulletin in an email. Steak tartare is made from beef that is finely chopped, mixed with other ingredients, and served raw.

Salmonella Outbreak Associated With Restore Public House in La Crosse WI

This food is considered “high risk.” The restaurant prepared it properly, according to public health officials. Restaurants can serve these foods, according to Ms. Rombalski, as long as they post an advisory telling consumers that the food is risky to consume.

The issue with foods like this is it doesn’t matter how well the food is handled. Raw meats, especially ground beef, are often contaminated with pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli bacteria and must be thoroughly cooked to a safe final internal temperature to be safe to eat. Even rare ground beef is risky to eat, especially to people with compromised immune systems or chronic health issues.

These pathogenic bacteria exist on the surface of whole cuts such as roasts and steaks. When that meat is ground, the bacteria are mixed all through the product, so it all must be cooked to 160°F, the temperature at which those pathogens are destroyed.

This outbreak occurred in mid-July 2019. Because patrons had to make reservations to eat this specific product, public health officials say that there was never a risk to the general public, so no announcement was made. Public health officials also inspected the restaurant and that inspection was completed in early August.

Thirty-nine people were interviewed in this outbreak. Seventeen cases were discovered. Seven people were lab-confirmed with Salmonella infections; ten cases are probable. Three people were hospitalized overnight because they were so sick. The patient age range was from 15 to 71, with a median age of 35.

Ms. Rombalski told us that her key takeaway message about this outbreak is that the public needs to be aware of the dangers of eating undercooked meat products.


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