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JBS Salmonella Beef Outbreak: A Parent’s Perspective

Posted in Outbreaks & Recalls,Salmonella on October 8, 2018

This week, I opened my computer and learned of another ground beef recall on of all days National Taco Day. Us American folks use ground beef in tacos more than most, and the news of this recall makes most people wary, especially parents. The JBS Salmonella Beef Outbreak and Recall concerns me as a mother.

Almost 7 million pounds of ground beef, to put that into perspective an average sized cow weighing in at 1200-1500 pounds brings in about 470 pounds of ground beef. That is enough to make anyone say “holy cow.” Over 8000 cows worth of ground beef pulled from shelves this time because of Salmonella.

The Outbreak

The Department of Agriculture said that an epidemiological investigation identified 57 case-patients from 16 states that suffered food borne illness between Aug. 5 and Sept. 6. The huge concern is that many people like myself buys ground beef in bulk and freezes it. I vacuum seal them into 1 pound packages often and toss them right into the freezer often not writing a lot of information on the packages except maybe the date that I froze it. This is quite scary for a parent who was just looking to save a little money when finding a good deal at the grocery store and wanting to stock up for the winter months when we make more hearty meals such as soups, stews and chili that often call for ground beef.

According to ABC17 the recalled products were packaged between July 26 and September 7 and were sold nationwide under brand names Walmart, Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, Showcase, Showcase/Walmart and JBS Generic.

The USDA inspection mark on the packaging of the recalled products contains the establishment number “EST. 267.”

“FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase,” the agency said in announcing the recall.

The USDA also reminded consumers to cook all ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. “The only way to confirm that ground beef or other cuts of beef are cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature.”

The salmonella ridden ground beef was tracked because of the illnesses, but more so technology to a certain point came into play as well. Receipts from stores were compared but also store rewards cards were used to track the ground beef and make links to the illnesses. Have you ever gotten a call from a store asking if you bought something or to warn you about a product that you have purchased? We actually have and while many times our phones ring with numbers we do not know and they go to voicemail, this was one message that I not only appreciated but admired the store for doing. Granted it was just an autodialer, but it was really important to me especially as a parent.

Salmonella

Salmonella is a pretty scary thing especially to hear as a parent. We strive to do things correctly and to keep our children safe every single day, but then incidents like this come out and we are often struck with a fear and a desire to know more about the recall and worse yet if you consumed any of the recalled meat what you should do.

Symptoms of Salmonella appear from 8-72 hours after contact and while most healthy people pop back pretty fast there is always the added risk to children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Medical attention is often required for dehydration.

Salmonella infection is usually caused by eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs or egg products. The incubation period ranges from several hours to two days. Most salmonella infections can be classified as stomach flu (gastroenteritis). Possible signs and symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Blood in the stool

Signs and symptoms of salmonella infection generally last two to seven days. Diarrhea may last up to 10 days, although it may take several months before bowels return to normal.

Unfortunately others are affected for much longer periods of time. Arthritis symptoms have been known to affect those who have been infected with Salmonella. This is called reactive arthritis and has been known to last for months to years and has been known to lead to chronic arthritis.

If salmonella infection enters your bloodstream (bacteremia), it can infect tissues throughout your body, including:

  • The tissues surrounding your brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
  • The lining of your heart or valves (endocarditis)
  • Your bones or bone marrow (osteomyelitis)
  • The lining of blood vessels, especially if you’ve had a vascular graft

It is also important to know that each year in the United States that 3,000 people die from food poisoning related illnesses each year.

How to Prevent Salmonella

Hand washing is one of the most important parts to steering clear of Salmonella. Always wash your hands after using the restroom, especially if you are showing symptoms of any stomach upset. Proper hand washing after handling raw meats is also imperative.

When cooking avoid cross contamination. This is important especially when handling the above mentioned raw meats. I make sure to have multiple cutting boards available and I use a lot of cleaners that are rated to kill Salmonella bacteria. These can be found in most any store and are relatively cheap. The multiple cutting boards are used to keep fruits and vegetables separate from the raw meats. I also have different knives available for slicing.

If you are preparing meats, never place cooked meats on a plate where any raw meats were present.

It is important that if you feel you have been affected by any recall or have symptoms of Salmonella to get medical attention and allow the doctors and health officials to do their jobs and help track down what you have been in contact with. This not only helps you but also the general public.

Our Salmonella Lawyer is Here to Help You

If you believe you have developed a Salmonella infection, we want you to know that a Salmonella Lawyer at the Lange Law Firm, PLLC is currently investigating this matter and offering free legal consultations. Our lawyer, Jory Lange became a lawyer to help make our communities and families safer.

If you or a loved one have become ill with Salmonella after eating ground beef products, you can call 833.330.3663 for a free consultation or complete the form here.

By: Samantha Cooper, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)