Surprise! There is another foodborne illness outbreak making the rounds. Some of the details surrounding this one are particularly disturbing.
This time, the offending pathogen is a nasty strain of Salmonella.
From Food Safety News:
Officials say another person is among the victims of a seven-state Salmonella Dublin outbreak that is linked to ground beef. One company has initiated a recall, but federal officials say other unnamed companies also have had positive test results for the pathogen.
In an outbreak update, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 11 people have been confirmed with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Dublin. Eight have been admitted to hospitals and one has died. (source)
A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the CDC’s Map of Reported Cases page.
Cases began emerging in August 2019, ill people range in age from 39 to 74 years, and seventy-three percent are male. One death was reported in California.
The CDC reports that
In five (45%) ill people, Salmonella was found in samples of blood, which indicates their illnesses may have been more severe. Salmonella Dublin is known to commonly cause more severe illnesses than other Salmonella strains, particularly in older people.
Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when someone becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details. (source)
One company has recalled contaminated products related to this outbreak.
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public notice about the outbreak and one related recall on November 15. Here is an excerpt from that notice:
Central Valley Meat Co., Inc., a Hanford, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 34,222 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Dublin, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
The ground beef items were produced on July 23, 2019. The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels (PDF only)]
1-lb. chub packages of “STATER BROS. 100% PURE GROUND BEEF 96% LEAN 4% FAT” with lot 2049 on the retail label; lot 19204 on the case label; and Use By 08-14-19.
2-lb. chub packages of “STATER BROS. 100% PURE GROUND BEEF 93% LEAN 7% FAT” with lot 2049 on the retail label; lot 19204 on the case label; and Use By 08-14-19.
20-lb. cases containing “STATER BROS 93/7 Ground Beef 10# Chub 10 Lb. Chubs/ 2 Count” with lot 19204 on the case label and Use By 08-14-19.
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 6063A” printed on the retail labels next to the lot number and inside the USDA mark of inspection on the case labels. These items were shipped to retail locations in California. (source)
If you have any of these products in your freezer, the CDC and FSIS urge you to throw them out or return them to the place of purchase.
The brand names of other contaminated products have not been revealed.
Keep in mind that other brands – as of now, unnamed – also have tested positive for this strain of Salmonella, but for some unknown reason, the public is not being told WHICH brands are impacted.
One company has initiated a recall, but federal officials say other unnamed companies also have had positive test results for the pathogen. (source)
I guess we really shouldn’t be surprised that we aren’t being provided with all the details, considering that it was recently revealed that the FDA waited to notify the public about an E. coli outbreak until about 14 weeks after the first case was reported to health officials.
Yesterday, the CDC updated its Food Safety Alert about the outbreak. Here are a few excerpts from the update:
In interviews, ill people report eating different types and brands of ground beef purchased from many different locations.
Laboratory testing identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella Dublin in repackaged leftover ground beef collected from an ill person’s home in California.
At this time, a single supplier, distributor, or brand of ground beef has not been identified that can account for all the illnesses in this outbreak. The investigation is ongoing and CDC will update the public if more information becomes available. (source)
In a previous update (dated November 1) the CDC reported:
The outbreak strain of Salmonella Dublin has also been identified in six samples of raw beef products from slaughter and processing establishments. Samples from slaughter and processing establishments were collected as part of FSIS’s routine testing under the Salmonella performance standards. WGS showed that the Salmonella strain from these samples was closely related genetically to the Salmonella from ill people. These results provide more evidence that people in this outbreak got sick from eating ground beef. At this time, the investigation has not identified a single, common supplier of ground beef. (source)
Here are additional details about Salmonella and this outbreak and recall.
The CDC offers the following advice:
- Do not eat recalled ground beef. Check your home for it, including your freezer. Return it to the store or throw it away.
- If you don’t know if the ground beef you have at home was recalled, contact the store where it was purchased to find out if it was recalled.
- Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell recalled beef and should check food storage and freezers for it.
- If possible, retailers who received recalled beef should contact their customers to alert them of the recall.
- Never try to cook recalled meat to make it safe.
The symptoms of Salmonella infection (called Salmonellosis) include diarrhea (sometimes bloody), fever, and stomach cramps 6 hours to 4 days after exposure to the bacteria. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment. In some people, the illness is so severe that hospitalization is required. Salmonella infection can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body. Children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.
The treatment for a Salmonella infection depends on how common the strain is, as Sandra Lane explained in Stomach Cramps, Diarrhea, and Fever: Could Salmonella Be the Culprit?
Usually, the patient is advised to drink plenty of clear fluids, rest as much as possible, and is given an antiemetic (anti-nausea medication) or anti-diarrheal and sent home unless secondary problems like dehydration are severe. The reason for this is because in most cases the patient is better before the results of the culture come back. That’s usually not a need for concern though because in our modern world most people recover on their own from salmonella infections without hospitalization.
However, if you have a severe case, if your doctor thinks the bacteria have entered your bloodstream, or if you have a compromised immune system, you may be prescribed antibiotics. (source)
There are an awful lot of outbreaks and recalls lately.
What is happening to our food supply? Every day there is news of a new outbreak or recall or news that an existing recall or outbreak is expanding. There are many possible reasons for the surge in foodborne illnesses and contaminated products – reasons that Cat Ellis explored in Here’s Why There Are SO MANY Food Recalls Lately. I recommend giving that article a full read – especially the part titled How not to get sick.
What do you think?
Do you think there are more foodborne illness outbreaks and recalls now, or that the reporting on them has just gotten better? Do you follow any food recall information sites? Is foodborne illness something your family is concerned about? If so, what steps do you take to avoid infection? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
About the Author
Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of an experienced journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.