FOOD SAFETY NEWS SCAN: Salmonella in ground beef, food safety plan support

Feb 1, 2012

Salmonella outbreak linked to Maine ground beef declared over
A salmonellosis outbreak linked to contaminated ground beef from a Maine grocer has reached 20 cases in seven states, 1 more case than listed in the last update on Jan 5, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in its final outbreak update. The new case was in New York. The breakdown by state for the outbreak—which was caused by a Salmonella Typhimurium strain—is as follows: Hawaii, 1; Kentucky, 1; Massachusetts, 1; Maine, 4; New Hampshire, 6; New York 6; and Vermont, 1. Illness-onset dates ranged from Oct 8 to mid December. The Hannaford grocery chain based in Scarborough, Maine, recalled an undisclosed amount of ground beef products on Dec 15 with sell-by dates of Dec 17 or earlier. Labs in Maine and New York isolated the outbreak strain from two samples of leftover ground beef bought at Hannaford stores. "This particular outbreak appears to be over," the CDC said in the update.
Feb 1 CDC update

Meatpackers back US plan to pinpoint food outbreak sources
US meatpackers are backing a federal plan to better determine which foods cause illnesses and deaths, saying it will help shore up the food safety system, according to a Meatingplace article today. The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Food and Drug Administration, and the CDC unveiled a plan to dramatically expand the number of food categories to which outbreaks and individual cases are assigned and use a variety of databases and expert opinion to pinpoint food sources. Currently a "large percentage" of outbreaks are attributed to unknown causes, the story said. The agencies, which hope to complete the project by year's end, held a public meeting yesterday for input. "The only way we can better understand what makes people sick is through this data," said Betsy Booren, director of scientific affairs for the American Meat Institute, at the meeting. "Attribution is one of the most challenging endeavors in the world of food safety," said Elisabeth Hagen, MD, USDA under secretary for food safety, adding that it was vital for both regulators and industry.
Jan 31 FSIS meeting agenda

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