Beef Packers, Inc., a Fresno, Calif., establishment, is recalling approximately 825,769 pounds of ground beef products that may be linked to an outbreak of salmonellosis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
The ground beef products were produced on various dates ranging from June 5, 2009 through June 23, 2009 and bear the establishment number “EST. 31913″ printed on the case code labels. Products were sent to retail distribution centers in Arizona, California, Colorado and Utah and were most likely re-packaged into consumer-sized packages and sold under different retail brand names. Consumers should check with their local retailer to determine whether they may have purchased any of the products subject to recall.
As a result of an ongoing investigation into an outbreak of Salmonella Newport associated with ground beef products, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) notified FSIS of the situation. Epidemiological and traceback investigations conducted by FSIS and CDPHE determined that there is an association between the fresh ground beef products and illnesses reported in Colorado. The illnesses were also linked through the epidemiological investigation by their uncommon pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern found in PulseNet, a national network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
FSIS would like to remind consumers of the importance of following food safety guidelines when handling and preparing raw meat. Ground beef should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160° Fahrenheit.
This particular strain of Salmonella Newport is resistant to many commonly prescribed drugs, which can increase the risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals.
Consumers with questions about the recall should contact the company’s Consumer Line at (877) 872-3635. Media with questions should contact company Director of Communications Rebecca Hayne (316) 291-2126.
Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. The most common manifestations of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days.
Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.
Recommendations for Preventing Salmonellosis:
Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water. Clean up spills right away.
Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.
Cook raw meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures before eating. The safe internal temperature for meat such as beef and pork is 160° F, and 165° F for poultry, as determined with a food thermometer.
Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.