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More Illnesses in JBS Ground Beef Outbreak

Posted in Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls,Salmonella on December 16, 2018

Eighty-seven more people from 16 states have been sickened by the ongoing Salmonella JBS ground beef outbreak linked to ground beef from JBS Tolleson, according to CDC. 39 of these illnesses are from California, which brings the case count from the state to 107 and the total case count to 333. More people fell sick possibly due to the fact that some of the products is still present in the consumer’s freezers.

The beef processing facility, a division of JBS SA located in Tolleson, Arizona has issued two recalls before this one. One on October 4, 2018, when they recalled 6.5 million pounds of beef products including ground beef. The company later expanded the recall on December 4, 2018 to more than 12 million pounds of beef products packaged between July 26, 2018 to September 7, 2018. The products were shipped to retailers nationwide under many brand names.

Check your freezer for recalled beef products. Look for the labeling with the establishment number “EST. 267”. It can be found inside the USDA mark of inspection or can be present at someplace else on the package too. More than 100 retailers including supermarket chains and local stores sold the recalled beef. You can find the list of stores in alphabetical order by state on USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. FSIS has also posted a list of brand names on their website under which the recalled beef was packaged under.

Case count map from includes these states: California (107), Colorado (58), Arizona (50), Texas (19), Nevada (13), Utah (11), New Mexico (11), Oregon (9), Ohio (9), Montana (8), Oklahoma (6), Wyoming (5), Hawaii (4), Washington (3), Missouri (3), Idaho (3), Iowa (2), Minnesota (2), Connecticut (1), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Michigan (1), Massachusetts (1), Mississippi (1), Oregon (1), and West Virginia (1).

Timeline:

When JBS initiated the very first of its recalls on October 4, only 54 people from 12 states were confirmed to have fallen ill after contracting Salmonella Newport from tainted beef, according to the first outbreak announcement posted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An update to the outbreak was made on November 15, 2018, when CDC reported that the illnesses have now increased to 254 people across 25 states. All of the sick people had the same strain of Salmonella as present in the recalled beef. Among the 254 people, interviews were reported for 168 of them and 59 were hospitalized. That’s 35% hospitalization rate, much more than Salmonella outbreaks are typically associated with.

Another update was made on December 4, to recall an additional 5.2 million pounds of beef products. Last update to the outbreak was made on December 12, 2018 that added 87 more ill people to the investigation. And now the illnesses have reached to 333. 52% among them are males. Information is available for 274 sick people, out of which 91 have been hospitalized. Thankfully, no deaths have been reported. But more illnesses may be added into this number. This is due to the time difference between when the person falls ill after being exposed to the bacteria and when the illness is diagnosed, confirmed and reported to CDC.

Illnesses started on the dates ranging from August 5, 2018 to November 9, 2018. Ill people are within the age group of less than one year to old, which makes median age to be 40. CDC, FDA, state and local health departments have continued their investigations and continue to ask ill people questions about the food they ate before they become sick and other exposures that happened in the week before the symptoms set in. 227 people were interviewed, out of which 200 (88%) reported eating ground beef at home. The number was pretty high by comparison to a control group in which 40% did not get sick after eating ground beef a week before they were interviewed.

According to CDC, whole genome sequencing analysis showed that antibiotic resistance was not found in 180 Salmonella bacteria isolates from 176 ill people and four food samples. An unopened package of ground beef from an Arizona resident tested positive for Salmonella strain that was responsible for outbreak illnesses. Whole genome sequencing confirmed that Salmonella Newport strain was genetically related to the Salmonella find in isolates of ill people.

Ground Beef Food Safety

Consumers and food service establishments should always make sure that they handle and cook ground beef safely so as to avoid any food borne illnesses. It is important that you follow proper food safety steps to handle and prepare any ground beef products, like:

  • Do not consume raw or undercooked beef.
  • Cook ground beef hamburgers or any other mixtures properly to a safe internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Always use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of any meat product. It’s not possible to know that the meat is cooked safely just by looking at it.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions about your food at a restaurant. Do enquire if you feel that the hamburgers or any other meat mixtures don’t look properly cooked.
  • Follow the four-step simple food safety at home – clean, separate, cook and chill.
  • Always separate raw meat products from fresh produce or cooked meals. This will help in preventing cross-contamination.
  • Wash the surfaces and items in the kitchen that come in contact with ground beef properly.

Salmonella Symptoms:

  • People affected with Salmonella may experience symptoms like: diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps within 12 to 72 hours of being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness will last for around 4 to 7 days. If you are sick, medical treatment is advised.
  • High-risk individuals include young children (less than 5 years of age), adults older than 65 years, pregnant women and those who have weakened immune system.

The investigation is not yet over. And more information will be provided as it becomes available.

Our Salmonella Lawyer is Here to Help You

If you believe you have developed a Salmonella infection from eating beef products, 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, you can call 833.330.3663 for a free legal consultation or complete the form here.

By: Pooja Sharma, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)