April 21, 2019

Lawyer Asks: Why Are There Ground Beef E. coli Outbreaks?

This afternoon, amidst the ongoing ground beef E. coli O103 outbreak affecting much of the east-central United States, I began my weekly meal preparation ritual. I went to the freezer and grabbed two pounds of frozen ground beef, defrosted it, and put it in a frying pan to brown. My family of four goes through so much ground beef that I regularly fill my freezer with a “quarter of beef” raised by my father and processed by a local butcher shop. We live on it. My family’s subsistence on ground beef is not uncommon. For 2018, Americans were projected to eat 222.2 pounds of meat and poultry, each. According to the self-proclaimed “best information source” of the beef industry, Beef2Live.com: “Ground beef is the most widely consumed beef product among American consumers. It is estimated … [Read more...]

CDC Says Ground Beef E. coli O103 Outbreak; 109 Now Sick

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released information today stating that preliminary information indicates that ground beef is the source of the E. coli O103 outbreak that started in Kentucky in late March 2019. And 109 people are now sick in this ground beef E. coli O103 outbreak; 17 have been hospitalized. In addition, Indiana has been added to the case count, with one person ill in that state. The case count by state is: Indiana (1), Georgia (17), Kentucky (54), Ohio (7), Tennessee (28), and Virginia (2). Illness onset dates range from March 2 to March 26, 2019. The patient age range is less than 1 year to 83, with a median age of 18. No cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure, have been reported yet. Ill persons … [Read more...]

Twenty-One Sick in Tennessee E. coli O103 Outbreak

Twenty-one people are sick in the Tennessee E. coli O103 outbreak that has also sickened people in Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia. The outbreak was first noticed in Kentucky in late March 2019. The cases exploded in one week from 20 sick to more than 72. And officials do not know what caused this outbreak. There has been no mention by public health officials about possible sources, although news reports have mentioned ground beef, chicken, and American cheese. What officials have said is that they think exposure to fast food may be associated with this outbreak; if not fast food, then some other type of food distribution system, since the illnesses are so widespread. It's unusual that so many people are sick with the same strain of pathogen and  no one knows the source. To … [Read more...]

How is Ground Beef Contaminated with E. coli Bacteria?

E. coli outbreaks are typically associated with certain foods. There have been Shiga toxin-producing E. coli outbreaks linked to raw milk, raw sprouts, ground beef, and leafy greens in the past few years. A 2015 study found that most E. coli outbreaks are linked to beef. But how is ground beef contaminated with E. coli bacteria? The type of E. coli bacteria that causes serious human illness is called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). That means the bacteria make a toxin that makes you very sick when it gets into your bloodstream. The government classifies these pathogens into two main groups: E. coli O157:H7, and the non-O157 serogroup, which includes E. coli O26, O111, O103, O121, and O145. All together, those six account for 75% of all STEC infections in the U.S. So how … [Read more...]

JBS Tolleson Ground Beef Salmonella Newport Outbreak Ends With 403 Sick

The JBS Tolleson ground beef Salmonella Newport outbreak has ended, with at least 403 people sick in 30 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One hundred seventeen people were hospitalized because they were so sick; there were no deaths reported. Officials are warning consumers that, even though the official outbreak is over, this recalled ground beef could still be in home freezers. The ground beef was packaged under many different brand names and sold from July 26, 2018 to September 7, 2018. Almost seven million pounds of ground beef was recalled on October 4, 2018, and an additional 5.2 million pounds of beef products were recalled on December 4, 2018. Check your freezer to see if you have any of these products on hand. Recalled products … [Read more...]

Molida de Res Ground Beef Recalled For Possible E. coli O157:H7

La Rosita Fresh Market of  Mount Prospect, Illinois, is recalling about 54 pounds of raw ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. No illnesses have been reported to date in association with this problem. That pathogen can cause serious illness and possibly hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) if ingested. The beef was only sold at the La Rosita Fresh Market Inc. retail store. That facility is located at 1805 West Algonquin Road in Mount Prospect, Illinois. The recalled products is Molida De Red Ground Beef in various weights. The product is packed in white trays covered with plastic wrap. The dates on the product are “Packed On 3/13/19 Sell By 3/20/19” and “Packed On 3/14/19 Sell By 3/21/19." FSIS investigators discovered this problem on March 14, 2019 … [Read more...]

How Do You Know If You Have an E. coli Infection?

If you contract an E. coli infection, the symptoms are unmistakeable. Because of the toxins the pathogen produces, and how it attacks the body, patients know they are really ill. All pathogens are assigned a "multiplier" by public health officials. The number is chosen based on how many people actually go to a doctor when they contract food poisoning. The multiplier for Salmonella infections is 38, because not many people need to see a physician when they are ill. The multiplier for E. coli infections is 2. That means that half of all E. coli infections are reported to public health officials. The main symptoms of E. coli infections are: Very severe and painful abdominal cramps Bloody and watery diarrhea Mild fever Those symptoms usually begin three to … [Read more...]

University of Cincinnati Professor Studies Hamburger E. coli

A professor at the University of Cincinnati is studying hamburger E. coli with a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) grant. The pathogen is E. coli O157:H7, which is sometimes called "hamburger E. coli" because many illnesses are attributed to that food-pathogen combination. And indeed, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to ground beef sickened 7 people in 2016. Five people were hospitalized because they were so ill. The pathogen is carried in the guts of ruminant animals, such as cows and goats. Those animals do not get sick, but they pass the E. coli bacteria in their feces. That feces can get onto the coat of the animal, and may be spread to the muscle during slaughter. When the beef is ground, the entire batch of hamburger can be contaminated.  Shiga … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreaks in 2018 Sickened 296

Three E. coli outbreaks in 2018 sickened at least 296 people. These outbreaks were linked to romaine lettuce and ground beef. E. coli illnesses are serious because if a patient is under the age of five, they can develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), as a complication. That complication can cause kidney failure, strokes, seizures, and death. The E. coli outbreaks of 2018 included the strains O157:H7 and O26. There are six non-O157 E. coli strains that produce shiga toxins. Those toxins travel through the bloodstream, destroying red blood cells, which then clog tiny tubes in the kidneys. They also travel to the brain and can cause strokes. Patients sickened in this outbreak did develop that complication. One hundred twenty seven people were hospitalized, 29 developed HUS, and … [Read more...]

Number 2 Outbreak of 2018: JBS Tolleson Ground Beef Salmonella Outbreak

The number two outbreak of 2018 is the JBS Tolleson Ground Beef Salmonella outbreak that is still ongoing. At least 333 people in 28 states are sick. Ninety-one people have been hospitalized. The company recalled 6.9 million pounds of beef products on October 4, 2018, and then recalled an additional 5.2 million pounds on December 4, 2018. The beef has the establishment number "EST. 267" that is usually inside the USDA mark of inspection, but can be found elsewhere on the package. The brand names of some of the recalled products are Kroger, Laura's Lean, and Generic JBS. The recalled items include ground sirloin, ground beef patty, fine ground chubs, Kroger GB loaf, and ground round loaf. The case count by state as of December 12, 2018 is: Arizona (50), California (107), Colorado … [Read more...]

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