Cargill Meat Solutions just issued a recall of more than 29,000 pounds of beef over potential contamination with Salmonella Enteritidis, a dangerous and sometimes deadly food borne pathogen, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) just announced.
This recall has been deemed a Class I, which means this product represents a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.
The 29,339 pounds of fresh ground beef involve 14-pound chub packages of “Grnd Beef Fine 85/15,” which are packed three chubs per 42-pound (approximate) cases. The products bear the establishment number “EST. 9400” inside the USDA mark of inspection.
While the use-by date has passed and these products are no longer available for retail sale, FSIS and Cargill Meat Solutions are concerned that some product may be frozen in consumers’ freezers. The recalled products were produced on May 25, 2012, and shipped to distribution centers in Connecticut, Maine, and New York for further distribution. These products were repackaged into consumer-size packages and sold under different retail brand names. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on FSIS’ website at: www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/Open_Federal_Cases/index.asp.
The FSIS became aware of the problem during the course of an ongoing investigation of a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis that involves 33 case-patients from seven states: Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Vermont. Working in conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Vermont Department of Health, the New York State Department of Health, and the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, the FSIS linked illnesses in five case-patients to the ground beef products produced at Cargill Meats. The findings were based on epidemiologic and trace back investigations, as well as in-store reviews.
Illness onset dates among the five case-patients ranged from June 6-13, 2012; two patients required hospitalization. Leftover product with no packaging information that was collected during the course of Vermont Department of Health investigation tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis with this outbreak’s strain. This particular Salmonella Enteritidis strain is drug sensitive, which means that antibiotics can be effective in treating those patients who need them.
It can take between six and 72 hours for symptoms of Salmonella poisoning—salmonellosis—to appear. Salmonellosis symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. Additional symptoms include chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting that can last up to seven days. The illness usually lasts four to seven days; however, in some, the organism can invade the bloodstream, becoming so severe that hospitalization is required.
Sometimes, infection with the Salmonella pathogen can result in, and produce more severe or chronic illnesses and can leave sufferers with serious life-long health issues. One of the most common bacterial food borne illnesses, salmonellosis can be especially life threatening to those with weakened immune systems, such as infants; the elderly; and persons with compromised immune systems, such as people with HIV infection or who are undergoing chemotherapy.
About 400 people die annually from acute salmonellosis. Both drug resistant and nonresistant Salmonella results in some one million illnesses annually, costing the U.S. $365 million, according to the CDC. A 2009 outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Newport was associated with Cargill Beef products; about 40 people in four states were sickened in that outbreak.
Cargill Meats’ consumer information line can be reached, toll-free, at 1.888.812.1646.