Although we typically feel safe buying food from the grocery store, the truth is that we can’t always sure what happens to our food before we eat it. While we can take all the necessary precautions to prewash things and not cross-contaminate our food when we cook with it, sometimes things go wrong in the supply chain that can make our food dangerous to eat—particularly when it comes to meat.
Unfortunately, this is the case with a recent recall on beef.
On October 4th, the USDA announced a recall on more than 6.5 million pounds of ground beef.
The beef was traced back to JBS Tolleson, Inc., a supplier based out of Tolleson, Arizona. The meat in question was recalled because it was potentially contaminated with salmonella. All the beef that was recalled was marked with the “EST. 267” number and was shipped to many different food retailers, primarily FoodMaxx, Harvey’s Supermarket, Lucky, Savemart, Sprouts and Winn Dixie Supermarket.
The risk factor for this recall has been listed as a Class I, high-risk recall.
All told, there have been 57 patients who reported falling victim to salmonella poisoning likely related to this supply chain.
Of those people, 14 of them have been hospitalized though there have been no deaths reported. So far, the states hit the hardest by this outbreak are Arizona and Colorado, with a respective 15 and 12 cases. Beyond that, the recall has affected a reported 16 states in total, also including California, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.
Though the CDC is conducting an ongoing investigation, the recall is still in effect.
Anyone who has beef marked with the packaging described above is advised to throw it out immediately.
While much of the potentially contaminated food was shipped to grocery stores, some local restaurants in the states listed may also be at risk. For anyone who owns a restaurant, be sure to get rid of any risky beef and to advise customers whenever possible about the risk. On the other side, customers are advised to ask their local restaurants about where the beef they’re eating was sourced from and that it was cooked properly.
Among food-borne illnesses, salmonella poisoning is known as one of the more serious ones.
If you’ve recently eaten ground beef and feel unwell, be sure to track your symptoms and seek medical help whenever necessary. Generally speaking, most people who have been infected with salmonella have diarrhea, fevers and stomach cramps within 12 to 17 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. Though these problems usually last for four to seven days (and can sometimes be recovered from without treatment), children younger than five and adults older than 65 may be particularly susceptible to salmonella.
Similarly, those with autoimmune disorders or weakened immune systems are also advised to be careful.
While the recall is already underway and investigations continue, this is a good reminder to practice good food safety.
Regardless of beef origin, preparing meat incorrectly in general can also result in illness. To avoid this, it’s important to follow the right procedures when cooking at home. Never eat raw or undercooked meat and be sure your burgers and other ground-beef related recipes reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Be sure to wash your hands and all surfaces that come in contact with raw meat with hot water and soap—and be sure not to cross-contaminate by using cutting boards again without washing them!
Above all, stay tuned to our site and to the USDA’s for updates on this recall as it progresses.
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