But a single supplier of ground beef has not been identified. Here’s what you should know.

By Betty Gold
November 04, 2019

Public health and regulatory officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service are currently investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Dublin infections linked to ground beef, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

To date, this outbreak of Salmonella has sickened 10 people and caused one death. Eight of these people are currently hospitalized.

“Illnesses in this outbreak are more severe than expected for Salmonella,” says the CDC.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that ground beef is a likely source of this outbreak. However, a single, common supplier of ground beef has not been identified. Those who have contracted Salmonella have reported consuming different types and brands of ground beef purchased from many different locations. As a result of this unclarity, the CDC has not yet advised that consumers stop eating (thoroughly cooked) ground beef or that retailers stop selling ground beef.

They have, however, strongly urged consumers to use safe handling practices with ground beef. “This outbreak is a reminder that raw and undercooked ground beef can have germs in it that can make you sick and can contaminate areas where food is prepared,” says the CDC in their report. Of eight of the people interviewed, six said they ate the ground beef at home.

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Here are some extremely important tips to follow:

  • Do not, under any circumstances, consume raw or undercooked ground beef.
  • To prevent food poisoning, cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160°F. Enlist a food thermometer to be absolutely certain that your meat has reached this safe internal temperature: you can’t tell whether meat is safely cooked by looking at it.
  • Make sure you’re monitoring the temperature in the proper way. When checking the doneness burgers, insert your thermometer through the side of the patty until it reaches the middle. Place the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat for other items.
  • Make sure you're keeping raw meat separate from any foods that won't be cooked before consuming.
  • Ask that ground beef hamburgers and mixtures be cooked to 160°F internal temperature when ordering at a restaurant.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after touching raw meat. Wash items that came into contact with raw ground beef (like countertops, utensils, dishes, and cutting boards) with hot, soapy water or in a dishwasher.

Keep in mind that those affected by Salmonella typically develop a fever, stomach pain, and diarrhea 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. The illness tends to last around 4 to 7 days. Most recover without receiving treatment, but some cases of Salmonella can require hospitalization.

The current outbreak of Salmonella Dublin has been identified in six states: California, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Iowa. People started getting sick in August.

This investigation is ongoing and the CDC will update the public as more information becomes available.

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