FSIS recalls beef, ham in Salmonella, Listeria outbreaks

The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced two meat-related recalls raw beef because of possible contamination with Salmonella Newport, and ready-to-eat ham products that may be tainted with Listeria monocytogenes.

Today the FSIS said JBS Tolleson, Inc., of Tolleson, Ariz., is recalling about 6.5 million pounds of raw beef products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Newport. This includes ground beef, chuck, and burgers sold through several retailers, including Walmart, Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, and Showcase.

The products were packaged from Jul 26 to Sep 7.

The FSIS said the investigation into the contaminated beef began on Sep 5, and the first store receipt linking an ill patient to JBS Tolleson meat was found on Sep 19. As of yesterday, 57 people in 16 states have reported illnesses, with an onset of symptoms ranging from Aug 5 to Sep 6. The recall notice does not list hospitalization data or specify which states are affected.

Salmonellosis is usually a self-limiting, acute stomach illness, resulting in diarrhea. Babies, the elderly, and immunocompromised people are at risk for serious complications.

"FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers' freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase," the agency said in a recall notice. "FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160°F."

Listeriosis kills 1 in Virginia

Both the FSIS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said investigations were under way on deli ham produced by Johnston County Hams, Inc, of Smithfield, N.C., after four people in two states developed listeriosis after eating the ham.

The illnesses occurred in North Carolina and Virginia, where one death has been recorded, in Virginia. All four patients were hospitalized, the CDC said, and ill people range in age from 70 to 81 years, with a median age of 76. It can take 2 to 10 weeks for new cases to be reported, so any cases that occurred after Sep 3 may not yet be recorded.

The FSIS has identified several products recalled by Johnston County Hams as of yesterday, all produced from Apr 3 to Oct 2. Included in the recall are five different types of 7- to 8-pound hams, shipped to distributors in Maryland, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia.

"Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns," the FSIS said, noting that pregnant women can experience miscarriage and stillbirth.

The CDC said samples collected from ill patients matched samples collected at Johnston County Ham facilities in both 2016 and 2018.

"During routine inspections, federal regulatory officials collected deli ham from the Johnston County Hams, Inc. facility in 2016 and in early 2018," the CDC said. "Whole genome sequencing results showed that Listeria identified in the deli ham in both years was closely related genetically to Listeria from ill people. These results provide more evidence that ill people became sick from eating contaminated deli ham."

See also:

Oct 4 FSIS beef recall

Oct 3 FSIS ham recall

Oct 4 CDC outbreak update

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