Here’s the latest update in the JBS Beef Salmonella Outbreak. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday that meat producer JBS Tolleson, Inc. recalled over 6,937,195 pounds of beef that has been contaminated with Salmonella. The recall was issued after 57 people in 16 states fell sick due to the product.
These products are still in the market. Therefore, you should remain alert while purchasing beef until further notice.
The recalled products were packaged from July 26 to September 7 of this year. The products include ground beef and sirloin trimmings. The products were sold under the brand names: Walmart, Showcase/Walmart, Kroger, Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, Cedar River Farms Sirloin Trimmings, Comnor Perfect Choice, Gourmet Burger, Grass Run Farms Natural Beef and JBS Generic. The products are marked with establishment number ‘EST. 267’ inside the Department of Agriculture (USDA) mark of inspection. Check out the full list of all the products recalled and their labels on the FSIS website.
The recalled products were distributed to several retailers across the United States. A list of retailers can be found here.
A food safety alert has been issued and consumers, retailers and restaurant owners are urged to not consume products mentioned in these lists. They should either throw them out or return them back to the stores.
A total of 57 illnesses have been reported till now. Here is a breakdown of illnesses by state of residence.
Even though the authorities were made aware of the outbreak about a month ago, no action was taken until the illnesses were stacked up. This is probably due to a loophole when it comes to Salmonella.
FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service), a part of USDA is responsible to maintain food safety for commercial supply of meat, poultry and eggs. It prohibits the sale of ground beef contaminated with certain strains of E.Coli. And when it comes to Salmonella, the microbe isn’t on the list of prohibited list of adulterants. This means that companies are allowed to sell products contaminated with salmonella as long as they know it will be cooked. Safe internal temperature for ground beef is 160℉.
Several public health groups have urged the FSIS since a long time (from Nixon era) to change the law and not allow Salmonella contaminated meat in the market. But FSIS always backs up by saying that consumers will not be eating meat without cooking it.
The safety of consumers is in their hand. They have to make sure that the beef products are fully cooked before they eat it. That is considered as a failing of current system by some, because consumers don’t always adequately cook their meat products. This leads to outbreaks. The Centre for Science in the Public Interest has continued to push for change. USDA has rejected their petitions saying that they wouldn’t be able to distinguish antibiotic-resistant salmonella from other types.
Under the current laws, FSIS waits for the illnesses to pile up and positive tests for products that caused the illness before issuing recalls. The reason why there was a delay even now.
JBS Tolleson Inc. is based in Arizona and is a subsidiary of JBS, largest meat company in the world. They are a leading processor of beef, pork and lamb in US; beef in Canada and the largest cattle feeder in the world with operations based in US and Canada. Headquartered in Colorado, they have over 100 facilities in America, Canada, Australia, Puerto Rico and Mexico. They are also leading processor of animal protein with more than 300 production units and delivering products in more than 150 countries.
On 4th October 2018, the company recalled 6.5 million pounds of beef due to Salmonella contamination. That is the amount of beef that 31,000 Americans typically eat over a year.
Salmonella is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in US. It sickens 1.2 million people in US each year. 450 among them lose their lives. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. They arise after 12 to 72 hours of eating the contaminated product. Most people will recover on their own within a week. Children, pregnant women, elderly people and those with compromised immune system are at more risk of complications.
The strain of bacteria implicated in the outbreak is Salmonella Newport, an antibiotic-resistant strain that is more difficult to treat. The resistance of this strain to various kinds of antimicrobials is growing day by day which makes this outbreak a little more alarming.
No deaths have been reported till now. But more cases can emerge considering the incubation period of Salmonella and presence of recalled products in markets. Vigilance is the only way to assure that it doesn’t affect you or your family.
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: Pooja Sharma, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)