A MASS recall of raw beef products is underway in the United States after hundreds of people have been struck down with salmonella infection.
The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service yesterday put a notice on its website saying JBS Tolleson was recalling approximately 12,093,271 pounds (5m kilograms) of non-intact raw beef products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Newport.
The raw beef items, including ground beef, were packaged on various dates from July 26 to September 7.
These items were shipped to retail locations and institutions nationwide.
US media including The Washington Post and CNN are reporting the big processor earlier this week recalled more than 5.1 million pounds of beef in products distributed nationwide including brands like Kroger, Laura's Lean and JBS generic.
That in itself was an expansion of an October recall.
Yesterday, however, things took a turn for the worse when the US Agriculture Department’s FSIS said it believed an additional 5 million pounds of raw meat was contaminated.
The department’s statement said it had continued to investigate the outbreak after JBS’ original recall.
“The epidemiological investigation has identified 246 confirmed case-patients from 25 states with illness onset dates ranging from August 5 to October 16. An additional 16 case-patients have provided receipts or shopper card numbers for the product traceback investigations. Specific traceback for three case-patients have identified JBS Tolleson, Inc., EST. 267 ground beef products that were not part of the October 4, 2018 recall,” the statement said.
Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever.
The US FSIS said it was concerned some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers and urged people to check, throw products away or return them to the place of purchase.
Australian beef industry leaders and analysts are watching the situation closely, noting the potential for severe flow-through effects on beef purchases in the US, one of Australia’s biggest markets.
Demand in the US for beef has been robust during 2018, which has gone some way to offsetting record cattle production in that country.