Tainted ground beef linked to illnesses in five states

Jan 28, 2013 (CIDRAP News) – A second Michigan company has recalled ground beef in connection with a Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak, which has expanded to 16 illnesses in five states, according to federal officials.

The latest recall was by Gab Halal Foods of Troy, Mich., according to the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The agency announced Jan 25 that the company had recalled about 550 pounds of ground beef products that were produced in early December and distributed to a Macomb County, Mich., restaurant and sold directly to consumers.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said epidemiologic and traceback investigations suggest that ground beef produced by both Gab Halal Foods and Jouni Meats Inc., Sterling Heights, Mich., which recalled about 500 pounds of its ground beef the day before, are the likely sources of the outbreak.

The CDC said in a Jan 25 outbreak announcement that it and state health partners were working to identify other cases possibly linked to the outbreak strain, which has a rare pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern.

Nine of the case-patients are from Michigan. The others are from Wisconsin (3), Illinois (2), Arizona (1), and Iowa (1).

The patients got sick between Dec 9 and Jan 7, and of 13 cases with available information, 7 people were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Patient ages range from 2 to 87 years. Preliminary tests suggest that the outbreak strain is susceptible to commonly prescribed antibiotics.

When the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the first recall on Jan 24, seven illnesses in Michigan and Arizona had been linked to the product.

Six of the Michigan patients and the Arizona patient reported eating at the same restaurant before they got sick, and all seven reported eating the same dish, raw ground beef kibbeh. The CDC said the dish is typically made with finely ground red meat, minced onions, and bulghur wheat.

The CDC warned consumers not to eat raw or undercooked ground beef, which it said is especially important for people at risk for serious Salmonella infections, including children younger than 5 year, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

See also:

Jan 25 CDC outbreak announcement

Jan 25 FSIS recall notice

Jan 25 CIDRAP News scan "Salmonellosis cluster sparks ground beef recall"

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