Beef Packers, a California meatpacking firm, is recalling more than 826,000 pounds of ground beef that has been linked to an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant salmonella, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. The outbreak has sickened people in nine Western states.
The recalled beef was processed between June 5 and 23 and sent to retail distribution centers in Arizona, California, Colorado and Utah marked with the establishment number "EST. 31913." It was then repackaged into consumer-size amounts and sold under different retail brand names. Because the repacked meat no longer carries the EST number, the USDA is urging shoppers to check with their retailer to determine whether they may have purchased any of the meat.
The link between the salmonella outbreak and the ground beef was discovered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which was investigating a series of illnesses in the state.
This particular strain of Salmonella -- Newport -- is resistant to many commonly prescribed drugs, which can increase the risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals.
Eating food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. The most common manifestations of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days.
Our take: This recall again underscores the need for quick passage of the Food Safety Enhancement Act by the Senate. The bill, which is designed to give the FDA more authority and oversight over food producers, was passed by the House last week. We hope -- and expect -- the Senate to do likewise after its summer recess.