December 7, 2022

USDA Adds Possible Beef E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak to Table

The USDA adds a possible beef E. coli O157:H7 outbreak to its Outbreak Investigation Table. The Salmonella outbreak linked to chicken is still on the table. No more information is available about either of these outbreaks. The last outbreak of USDA-regulated foods that was identified and solved was the 2021 Salmonella Hadar outbreak linked to ground turkey that sickened at least 33 people in 14 states and hospitalized four.

USDA Adds Possible Beef E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak to Table

This outbreak is most likely not linked to ground beef, since the USDA stipulates whether or not the product is ground in its table. Outbreaks associated with whole cuts are not common.

The last outbreak linked to whole beef cuts was in 2009, when 21 people in 16 states were sickened with E. coli O157:H7 infections. Beef products from National Steak and Poultry were associated with this outbreak. The product was non-intact steaks, which were blade-tenderized. There were six outbreaks linked to mechanically-tenderized beef between 2000 and 2009.

Mechanically tenderized beef cuts are made by a machine that pierces the meat with blades or needles. This process cuts the fibers of the meat, making it more tender, but this action can also move bacteria from the surface of the cut to the interior. Then, if the steak is cooked less than medium or well done, bacteria can survive and make someone sick.

After that string of outbreaks, a law was passed that requires a “safe handling instructions” label on these beef cuts, but many consumers still do not know what the terms mean or don’t understand the risk. And mechanically tenderized beef does not look different from whole cuts. The label states that the product should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F before it is consumed. That is considered medium doneness.

If you have eaten beef, either steaks or roasts or any other type of whole cut, and have been ill with the symptoms of an E. coli infection, see your doctor. You may be part of this beef E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Or if you have eaten chicken and have been experiencing the symptoms of a Salmonella infection, call your physician.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with an E. coli infection or a Salmonella infection, please contact our experienced attorneys at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores and food processors

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