10 Victims in 6 States: Salmonella Contaminated Beef Leads to Public Warning
Though most infections caused by infectious salmonella bacteria stem from poultry products, a recent outbreak of salmonella serves as a reminder that salmonella infections can be caused by a multitude of foods or environments. Ground beef appears to be the commonality in this recent outbreak of salmonella.
Per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) release on November 1, ten individuals across six states have come down with infections that were likely caused by ground beef. Of these ten, eight had to be hospitalized and one individual from California has died as a result of their infection. There has not been a single supplier of ground beef identified as a link between any of the infections, though the salmonella Dublin strain is that which infected each individual. This may be cause for concern, as even in their report, the CDC states: “Illnesses in this outbreak are more severe than expected for salmonella.” This being said, they do not advise that consumers in any state stop purchasing or consuming ground beef. Instead, they recommend that individuals do their utmost to practice good hygiene in preparing or consuming ground beef.
There is not a specific source or supplier of ground beef to avoid in this instance, though this should serve as a reminder to use smart practices when preparing or consuming any potentially raw meats. Meats like poultry or ground meats like beef should never be eaten raw or undercooked. As a reference specifically for ground beef, a food thermometer can be used to ensure that the internal temperature for cooked ground beef reaches a safe 160℉ (you can also ask a server at a restaurant to do the same). Ground beef should be used within three to four days after purchase or thawing. Thorough handwashing before and after handling uncooked meats and disinfecting and washing areas in which these meats will be handled/prepared is crucial.
Those infected with salmonella bacteria will likely develop symptoms within three days of exposure, and these symptoms should only last up to a week at most. They can include fever, diarrhea, and mild to moderate stomach pain. If symptoms last longer than a week or worsen in severity, medical attention should be sought immediately, as more drastic complications/conditions like post-infectious IBS, post-infectious RA, or even hemolytic uremic syndrome (this is more often linked to e. coli bacterial infections, though it has been recorded as occurring due to serious salmonella infections).
Staying up to date with food safety news is one the best ways that individuals can keep themselves safe from any of these infections.