- Sixteen people have gotten sick with salmonella after eating ground beef, according to a CDC alert.
- There is currently no recall associated with the outbreak.
- The CDC urges consumers to follow proper food safety protocol when cooking ground beef and ensure that it is cooked to 160 degrees.
Sixteen people have gotten sick with salmonella after eating ground beef, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alert.
Most of those who got sick reported eating 80% lean ground beef sold at ShopRite locations in the Northeast.
So far, there are nine reported cases in New Jersey, five in New York, one in Connecticut, and one in Massachusetts. Six people have been hospitalized with a salmonella infection, but no deaths have been reported.
According to the CDC, it’s likely that there are more than 16 illnesses associated with this outbreak.
Many people recover from salmonellosis—the illness caused by salmonella—without medical care and are never tested for it, so there may have been additional cases that weren’t included in the outbreak total.
It can also take a few weeks for cases to be counted as part of an outbreak, the CDC said, so there could be recent illnesses that haven’t yet been documented.
The first reported illness was on April 27; the other 15 cases were documented between May 21 and June 16.
Investigators are still working to find the source of the contaminated ground beef—no recall has been announced.
Ground beef can be a source of salmonella, but the bacteria are killed when the beef is cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Undercooking ground beef can put people at risk of ingesting salmonella.
CDC Warns of Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Flour
Salmonella may be more commonly associated with eggs or raw chicken, but ground beef can be an issue as well. Between 2012 and 2019, there were 27 salmonella outbreaks linked to beef.
In general, salmonella is a huge issue in the U.S.—the CDC estimates that the bacteria causes 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths each year.
As is the case with most instances of food poisoning, salmonella bacteria primarily causes acute gastroenteritis, or general diarrheal sickness.
Symptoms can appear between 6 hours and 6 days after someone ingests the bacteria, and the illness typically lasts between 4 and 7 days before clearing up on its own.
Most people who get sick from salmonella will experience fever, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and possibly nausea or vomiting.
But sometimes salmonella infections can be more serious—diarrhea can cause severe dehydration, especially in infants and older people. And if the salmonella bacteria make their way into other parts of the body, they can cause severe issues such as meningitis, or blood or bone infections.
Antibiotics are typically only used in these more severe cases, or for people with salmonella who may be at an increased risk of serious illness, such as those with older patients with underlying conditions or immunocompromised people.
Because outbreaks are very common and symptoms can be severe, it’s important that people are aware of what they can do to prevent salmonellosis.
Ground Beef Safety
There are four food safety tips the CDC recommends people follow when they cook with ground beef:
- Clean: wash your hands and any dishes, utensils, or surfaces that touch raw beef, before they touch other food or items
- Separate: keep ground beef separated from other food while grocery shopping and in your fridge
- Cook: all ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees, and heated to 165 degrees when warming up leftovers
- Chill: refrigerated ground beef should be cooked or frozen within 1 to 2 days, and any cooked ground beef should not be left out for more than an hour or two
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