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Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Ground Beef

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Posted October 4, 2018 at 4:00 PM ET

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections linked to ground beef produced by JBS Tolleson, Inc.

Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers

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At A Glance

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  • On October 4, 2018, JBS Tolleson, Inc., of Tolleson, Arizona, recalled approximately 6.5 million pounds of beef products, including ground beef, which may be contaminated with Salmonella Newport.
    • Recalled beef products were produced and packaged from July 26, 2018, to September 7, 2018 and were shipped to retailers nationwide.
    • Products are labeled with the establishment number “EST. 267” inside the USDA mark of inspection.
    • Visit the USDA-FSIS website for a list of recalled brands and products [PDF – 1.81 MB]. This list may be updated as more information becomes available.
  • Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell recalled beef products and should check food storage and freezers for them.
    • If possible, retailers who received recalled beef products should contact their customers to alert them of the recall.
  • Consumers who have ground beef in their homes labeled with the establishment number “EST. 267” should contact the store where it was purchased to find out if it was recalled. Do not eat recalled ground beef. Return it to the store or throw it away.
  • Consumers with questions about the recall can call the JBS USA Consumer Hotline at (800) 727-2333.
  • Contact a healthcare provider if you think you got sick from eating recalled ground beef.
  • In general, consumers and restaurants should always handle and cook ground beef safely to avoid foodborne illness. It is important to handle and prepare all ground beef products carefully.

Latest Outbreak Information

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  • Fifty-seven people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport have been reported from 16 states.
    • Illnesses started on dates ranging from August 5, 2018, to September 6, 2018.
    • Fourteen people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
  • Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicates that ground beef produced by JBS Tolleson, Inc. is a likely source of this outbreak.
  • On October 4, 2018, JBS Tolleson, Inc. recalled approximately 6.5 million pounds of beef products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Newport.
  • This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

Food Safety and Ground Beef

Illustration of a clipboard with check marks on it.
  • In general, consumers and restaurants should always handle and cook ground beef safely to avoid foodborne illness. It is important to handle and prepare all ground beef products carefully.
    • Don’t eat raw or undercooked ground beef.
    • Cook ground beef hamburgers and mixtures such as meatloaf to 160°F internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to make sure the meat has reached a safe internal temperature. You can’t tell whether meat is safely cooked by looking at it.
    • Ask that ground beef hamburgers and mixtures be cooked to 160°F internal temperature when ordering at a restaurant.
    •  Wash hands and items that came into contact with raw ground beef—including countertops, utensils, dishes, and cutting boards—with soap and water.

Symptoms of Salmonella Infection

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  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
  • In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
  • Children younger than 5 years, adults older than 65 years, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

Investigation Details

October 4, 2018

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA fingerprinting is performed on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks. WGS gives a more detailed DNA fingerprint than PFGE. WGS performed on bacteria isolated from ill people showed that they were closely relatedly genetically. This means that people in this outbreak are more likely to share a common source of infection.

As of October 4, 2018, 57 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport have been reported from 16 states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Map of Reported Cases page.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from August 5, 2018, to September 6, 2018. Ill people range in age from less than one year to 88, with a median age of 33. Sixty-one percent are male. Of 45 people with information available, 14 (31%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details.

Investigation of the Outbreak

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicates that ground beef produced by JBS Tolleson, Inc. of Tolleson, Arizona, is a likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Thirty-six (92%) of 39 people interviewed reported eating ground beef at home. This percentage is significantly higher than results from a survey [PDF – 787 KB] of healthy people in which 40% of respondents reported eating any ground beef at home in the week before they were interviewed.  Also, several ill people ate ground beef at the same events or purchased ground beef at the same grocery store chains. When several unrelated ill people ate at the same event or shopped at the same store within several days of each other, it suggests that the contaminated food item was served or sold there.

USDA-FSIS and state partners traced the source of the ground beef eaten by ill people in this outbreak to JBS Tolleson, Inc. On October 4, 2018, JBS Tolleson, Inc. recalled approximately 6.5 million pounds of beef products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Newport.

This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

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